HCM CITY — Many domestic companies have been using agricultural by-products such as cashew-nut peels and sugarcane bagasse to produce products for export, earning millions of dollars a year.
The Binh Phuoc Province-based Phuc Dung Company, for instance, produce oil from cashew nut peels, according to Tran Van Phuc, the company director.
The industry of producing oil from cashew-nut peels could bring hundreds of millions of dollars a year, he told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
Last year, domestic companies produced 80,000 tonnes of oil from cashew-nut peels, according to the Viet Nam Cashew Association (Vinacas).
Of that figure, 60,000 tonnes were exported, bringing in US$50 million for the companies.
Because the technology to produce the oil is rather simple, it has attracted many producers.
Binh Phuoc Province has about 15 companies with a total capacity of processing 100,000 tonnes of cashew-nut peels a year.
Le Bong, director of the Binh Phuoc Province-based Thien An Company, said the supply of oil produced from cashew-nut peels could not meet current demand.
Nguyen Thai Hoc, chairman of Vinacas, said the cashew-peel oil industry had great potential, and was developing into a major sector along with production of cashew nuts.
More Vietnamese companies are using agricultural by-products such as peels and cores of oranges, pineapples and dragonfruits to produce animal food, according to the Viet Nam Fruit and Vegetable Association (Vinafruit).
Every month, for example, the HCM City-based Kim Nghia Company exports more than 30 containers, each weighed 24-26 tonnes, of processed agricultural by-products, including processed bagasse, pineapple residue, orange peels and cassava leaves.
Kim Nghia's products are exported to Japan for animal food.
Nguyen Van Nghia, Kim Nghia's director, said the Japanese have strict requirements about food safety and hygiene for these products.
Before exporting any batches, Kim Nghia sends samples to Vietnamese and Japanese agencies for testing safety and hygiene.
Nghia's Japanese partners import $10 billion of animal food for Japan's beef and dairy cows a year.
But the export revenue from Vietnamese animal food for Japan's beef and dairy cows has not reached 1 per cent of this amount.
If Vietnamese companies can raise market share from less than 1 per cent to 10 per cent, the country could earn $1 billion annually from selling animal food for Japan's beef and dairy cows.
South Korea also has a high demand for these goods.
Huynh Quang Dau, deputy chairman of Vinafruit, said the demand of importing processed agricultural by-products was high but Viet Nam companies had not taken full advantage of such by-products for production.
Viet Nam can supply about 2.5-3 million tonnes of bagasse a year, according to the Viet Nam Sugar and Sugarcane Association. — VNS