“I was born and raised in the land of Song Be province, now known as Binh Phuoc. Since my childhood, I have strived to accomplish something for my homeland, with my family and friends. I have no financial resources, land or rubber worth trillions of dong. I only have experience, knowledge and a burning determination to bring Vietnamese agricultural products to the world market.
Whether it's me or you, each Vietnamese agricultural product positioned on the market becomes boundless joy and happiness. Because we have fulfilled our ambition hidden somewhere within our minds in the midst of the chaos of life", Ms. Nguyen Thi Cam Hang, Director of Binh Highlands Import-Export Co., Ltd. Phuoc shared her story.
Giving up the position as a branch manager for a commercial bank in District I, Ho Chi Minh City after 16 years of employment, Ms. Nguyen Thi Cam Hang returned to her hometown in Thuan Loi commune, Dong Phu district to collect and purchase coconut shells used for burning, compacting into charcoal for sale on the international market.
Technological equipment and supplies used for coal burning are almost absent on the market. Labor resources are only basic, not well-trained like other professions. Starting a coal burning business with coconut shells is from almost entirely nothing for female director Nguyen Thi Cam Hang.
But after only two years of construction and establishment of Binh Phuoc Plateau Import-Export Co., Ltd., its coconut shell charcoal products branded as Tcha Tchello and Highland are not only exported to Middle Eastern countries but also extending to other markets including Australia, Belgium, Germany and Turkey.
The current factory's production capacity has reached 200 tons of finished products per month, equivalent to 800 tons of coconut shells, a discarded by-product in agricultural production. Director Nguyen Thi Cam Hang understands that her business is not luxurious, her company is not a fortune, her daily work is quiet, simply collecting pieces of coconut to crush and burn into coal and then sell abroad.
Burning coal, this profession is considered "Cinderella", but it is her joy and pride because she can bring agricultural waste in exchange for foreign currency to bring back to the country. During that journey, the Company does not use any local currency to exchange for foreign currency and purchase imported raw materials for production. All stages in the production process, from labor resources to equipment, machinery and raw materials are of domestic origin.
"100% of post-processed products are exported to the world market with the brand's name, the label is very clear. On the packaging, we also print the flag of Vietnam to subtlely advertize to customers, consumers around the world about the position, or in other words, the position of Vietnamese agricultural products on the international market map. That's the national pride that I aspired to follow since I was a child, which has been hidden by the hustle and bustle of life, but I have only been awakened recently", "Cinderella" Nguyen Thi Cam Hang confessed.
In 2018, as a child of a famous cashew processing business in Binh Phuoc, having enrolled in a business administration class for entrepreneurs, Mr. Nguyen Hoang Dat was surprised to discover that Binh Phuoc was known as land of cashew nuts! His family's company is a business specializing in processing and exporting cashew nuts but does not have any products for customers to identify and acknowledge.
“I'm embarrassed because, I work for a cashew nut exporting company, yet I don't have any products to recommend for people to enjoy. I can gift my friends a whole bag, a ton of that premium white filling but obviously not. Because it is only a preliminary product for exports. No matter how well I do it, no matter how modern the investment technology is, our products reaching hundreds of modern Western European countries in the world in exchange for a lot of dollars but without a brand name, in the end, we are just workers. The market, the customer, no one knows about me", Director of Vinahe Co., Ltd. Nguyen Hoang Dat opened the story.
Accidentally participating in the presentation of an Italian businessman who performed the art of marinating, roasting and frying cashews for everyone to enjoy, Nguyen Hoang Dat was filled with joy because he found his long-cherished direction.
Looking for ways to familiarize himself with the processing technology of an Italian chef, Nguyen Hoang Dat approached the process of research and processing in his own way. With his own recipe, at the beginning of 2019, Nguyen Hoang Dat invested 5 billion VND to establish Vinahe Co., Ltd. and a comprehensive processing line of cashew products such as: salted roasted cashews, garlic chili, salted lemon cashews, Yum Thai cashews, cheese cashews and cashewpie cakes under the Vinahe brand - For Vietnam's health.
I thought I could make a good product and bring it to the supermarket, store, grocery store or agent. Unexpectedly, the products could not be sold, when his product lines expired, they had to be collected and brought back as food for livestock.
“In 2019, I invested a billion dong to buy raw materials for cashew nuts processing, by the end of the year, the total revenue was 10 million dong. Looking at the truck carrying the products of his dream to process food for livestock, he told himself to not cry but tears kept falling in agony. Only then did I know how much the story of the market means to the product of a business", Hoang Dat confided.
In 2020, Vinahe actively promoted its products on e-commerce channels, participated in introductions at trade fairs and exhibitions, promoted products in the media and then go into details of the business story.
Since mid-2020, the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic has become very complicated. The export market of Vietnamese agricultural products is almost frozen. However, products of deep-processed cashew nuts under the Vinahe brand are still well received by the domestic market. Particularly in 2021, the revenue of Vinahe's deep-processed cashew nut products in the domestic market reached over VND 3 billion.
Although it is very difficult, the revenue in 2021 is 3 billion dong, which is enough to help workers not lose their jobs because of the pandemic. The biggest advantage of the Company is the Vinahe branded product lines, which are known to domestic and foreign customers. Even a fastidious market such as Japan has signed an agreement to consume Vinahe branded cashew nut products with the volume of 10 tons per month in 2022.
"Is there any greater joy than when Binh Phuoc's cashew products are associated with the Vinahe brand - For the health of consumers, they are welcomed and known by customers around the world. Even selling the company's assets to have money for rent, I still have to work and build the brand and quality of Binh Phuoc cashew nuts so that the world knows them as a cultural and human beauty in the land of Binh Phuoc", Mr. Nguyen Hoang Dat affirmed.
Translated by Nguyen Hai Long
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