Unporpular fact: Things that are thought to be discarded like cocoa pods and dragon fruit seeds can bring in billions of dollars

In Vietnam, the circular economy model in agriculture, although not new, has not been given due attention.

Take full advantage of cocoa pods

According to a recent report by the Research Institute of Oils and Oily Plants, cocoa pods account for 60% of the fruit weight. Therefore, the yield of by-products from cocoa pods is very large, about 5.4-8.1 tons/ha/year.

Most of the cocoa growing areas after harvesting, taking the seeds for processing, only a small part of the cocoa pods is dried for burning.

Farmers plant cocoa trees in Dong Nai. Photo: Nguyen Vy

The rest (both the skin and the flesh of the cocoa fruit) is dumped in the river, or thrown back into the tree for natural decomposition. The decomposition time of cocoa pods is prolonged, from 8 months or more, polluting the environment…

Since 2020, Trong Duc Cocoa Co., Ltd (Dinh Quan district, Dong Nai) has cooperated with the International University of Ho Chi Minh City to research and produce added products from cocoa fruit meat such as instant noodles, biscuits, snacks…

Mr. Dang Tuong Khanh – Director of Trong Duc Cocoa Company said that biscuits and other snacks made from cocoa meat have good market prospects.

All test results such as sensory criteria, quality, taste… all passed. Currently, the company is testing production before putting it on the market.

The flesh and skin of the cocoa bean account for more than 60% of the cocoa fruit weight. Photo: Nguyen Vy

Before that, Trong Duc Cocoa Company produced many nutritious drink products from cocoa fruit meat such as juice, cocoa wine, syrup, colored water…

Cocoa pods are also processed by the company to produce Pectin, a type of fiber used in food production and processing.

Or like cocoa wine, Trong Duc also has 2 product lines made from cocoa pods and flesh, which are popular in the market.

According to Mr. Khanh, if only cocoa was grown for seeds and then exported raw, his revenue would be insignificant.

Therefore, the company has to tinker and find ways to take advantage to create more products from cocoa, increasing the competitiveness of the business.

Mr. Khanh calculated, every 10 tons of fresh cocoa will give 1 ton of dry beans. If they are exported raw, they can earn more than 70 million VND.

With the same 10 tons, if you can take advantage of cocoa meat, you will get 500kg of cocoa juice if you squeeze the juice. From there, 20 bottles of wine (750ml) can be produced, worth more than 1.6 billion VND.

Every year, Trong Duc Company has about 5,000 tons of shells discharged from the cocoa production process. This is also the source of raw materials for the production of wine and many other valuable products.

From cocoa fruit flesh, Trong Duc Cocoa Company researches and produces juice products. Photo: Nguyen Vy

Outside the processing plant, the company’s cocoa farms are also planned, forming a closed ecosystem in the style of garden-pond-barn-forest.

That is, besides cultivation, the farm has more models of livestock to get fertilizer, or attract natural enemies to limit harmful pests.

With this model, businesses do not discharge waste into the environment, do not fully exploit resources such as land, water or abuse fertilizers and pesticides, but nourish each other according to the laws of nature.

“60% of the by-products, which are considered cocoa waste, are utilized by the company and bring economic benefits,” Mr. Khanh said.

Small and incomplete

Dr. Pham Van Hung, representative of the research team of the International University of Ho Chi Minh City, said that most of the dragon fruits have been exported raw for a long time.

The countries of Korea and Japan import dragon fruit and then process many other things. And they also sell for 5-7 times higher than the raw sale of Vietnam.

According to Dr. Hung, at present, many businesses have invested in processing dragon fruit into wine, juice, dried dragon fruit…

Since then, the by-products such as dragon fruit peels and seeds are the source of raw materials to produce other products, such as extracting essential oils, juices, functional foods, etc.

“After completing the project from cocoa fruit with Trong Duc Company, the group is researching the production of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics … from the skin and seeds of dragon fruit”, Dr. Hung shared.

The skin and seeds of dragon fruit are raw materials to produce essential oil extracts, juices, functional foods… Photo: Nguyen Vy

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Hong Quan – Director of the Institute of Circular Economy (National University of Ho Chi Minh City) said that the circular economy has been applied in Vietnam in many ways such as garden-pond-barn, or garden- pond-barn-forest…

But in terms of scale and modern application, the recovery of cocoa by-products or the processing of essential oils and pharmaceutical products of dragon fruit seeds is still very new in the agricultural business community.

The problem is that many businesses are struggling to make this model popular.

Dr. Quan admitted that the core factor is that businesses, even though they want to, have not yet found suitable technologies that bring both economic and social efficiency.

Not to mention, the current infrastructure of many businesses has not yet met the set goals of the circular economy. Some domestic enterprises have paid attention to the circular economy, but the scale is still small and incomplete.

Can be mentioned the closed cow breeding model at Vinamilk’s farm; producing cooking oil from pangasius fat at Vinh Hoan Joint Stock Company or using shrimp shells and shrimp heads to process Chitosan of Vietnam Food Joint Stock Company…

Shrimp shell and shrimp head make up about 40-50% of shrimp weight. Photo: Nguyen Vy

Particularly, the model of collecting shrimp shells and shrimp heads to produce Chitosan has the potential to earn 4-5 billion USD/year.

“However, it is difficult to collect shrimp heads due to high transportation costs. The purchase price of shrimp heads has not created an incentive for shrimp processing facilities to export…”, Dr. Quan said.

In the recent 10-year report of Circular economy in agriculture, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen The Chinh, former director of the Institute of Strategy and Policy on natural resources and environment, said that agricultural production still focuses on quantity, find ways to increase output, increase productivity and reduce costs.

To promote the circular economy in agriculture, reducing input surpluses and pesticide residues is paramount. However, the criteria for sustainable development and environmental friendliness have not been paid enough attention.

To fix it, according to Dr. Chinh, first of all, it is necessary to change the perception of people and society about the economic model, which is an economic model based on the full exploitation of natural resources.

Nguyen Vy – Dan Viet Newspaper

Share
RELATED NEWS
28 Jun 22
News
Decision No. 450/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister: Approving the National Strategy for Environmental Protection to 2030, with a Vision to 2050 News, News, News

On April 13, 2022, Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh signed a decision approving the National Strategy for Environmental Protection to 2030, with a Vision to 2050. In order to successfully carry out the assigned tasks, the time required In the past, the Institute of Strategy and Policy on natural resources and environment (ISPONRE) On October 30, 2020, Minister Tran Hong Ha submitted to the Prime Minister for approval the National Strategy for Environmental Protection to 2030, with a vision to 2050 in Report No. 54/TTr-BTNMT.

On November 23, 2020, the Government Office issued Official Letter No. 9777/VPCP-NN to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment for the direction of Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung on continuing to review the draft Strategy to ensure ensure compliance with the Law on Environmental Protection 2020 and Documents after the end of the 13th Party Congress; at the same time, working with ministries and branches also have different opinions on the targets of the Strategy. Following the direction of Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung, ISPONRE reviewed the views, goals, tasks and solutions, worked with a number of ministries and branches and completed the Draft Strategy.

On April 29, 2021, Minister Tran Hong Ha signed and promulgated Official Letter No. 2007/BTNMT-VCLCS to the Prime Minister on reviewing and finalizing the Draft Strategy.

On July 27, 2021, Deputy Minister Vo Tuan Nhan signed and promulgated Official Letter No. 4204/BTNMT-VCLC to the Government Office on receiving comments from Ministries and sectors on the Draft National Strategy for Environmental Protection to 2030, with a vision to 2050.

On September 16, 2021, the Government Office issued Official Letter No. 6553/VPCP-NN to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment on continuing to review the Draft National Environmental Protection Strategy to 2030, with a vision to 2050. Accordingly, the Institute has reviewed, supplemented and updated the content of the Draft Strategy to ensure consistency with the Decree guiding the implementation of the Law on Environmental Protection 2020, a number of newly issued documents and commitments of Viet Nam at COP26.

On April 13, 2022, Deputy Prime Minister Le Van Thanh signed a decision approving the National Strategy for Environmental Protection to 2030, with a Vision to 2050. approved strategy with the view that environment is the conditions, foundations and prerequisites for sustainable socio-economic development, so economic development must be in harmony with nature, respect natural laws, and do not trade off the environment for economic growth. Environmental protection is the responsibility of the whole political system and society as a whole, in which local authorities, businesses, communities and people play an important role. Protecting the environment must take the protection of people’s health as a top goal. Prioritize proactively preventing and controlling pollution, focusing on solving key and urgent environmental issues; overcoming pollution, degradation, improving environmental quality, combined with nature conservation and biodiversity, contributing to climate change response.

The objective of the Strategy is to prevent the trend of increasing pollution and environmental degradation by 2030, solve urgent environmental problems, and gradually improve and restore environmental quality; prevent biodiversity loss. Improve capacity to proactively respond to climate change; ensuring environmental security, building and developing models of circular economy, green economy, low carbon, striving to achieve the country’s sustainable development goals.

The National Environmental Protection Strategy defines a vision that by 2050, Viet Nam’s environment will be of good quality, ensuring the people’s right to live in a clean and safe environment; biodiversity is preserved, conserved, and ecological balance is ensured; proactively respond to climate change; A society in harmony with nature, a circular economy, a green and low-carbon economy is formed and developed, towards the goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.

Strategic tasks set out:

– Actively prevent, control and prevent adverse impacts on the environment and environmental incidents.

– Solve key and urgent environmental issues; overcome environmental pollution and degradation; maintain and improve the quality and hygiene of the environment.

– Conserve nature and biodiversity, promote environmental protection in the exploitation and use of resources.

– Actively protect the environment to contribute to improving capacity to adapt to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

To carry out the above tasks, first of all, it is necessary to renew the thinking of all levels and branches; raising awareness and awareness of environmental protection of businesses, communities and people. Continue to improve the system of policies and laws on environmental protection in line with market economic institutions, improve the organizational structure, and speed up the reform of administrative procedures in environmental protection. Besides, it is necessary to strongly apply science and technology, promote innovation and digital transformation; building technical infrastructure, monitoring network and environmental database, and at the same time promoting international cooperation on environmental protection in the context of deep integration of the economy.

For details of the Decision, please see here.has presided over and coordinated with relevant units to research and develop a draft national strategy for environmental protection to 2030, with a vision to 2050. .

(8)