Processing industry – a path for Son La agricultural products

With 84,752 hectares of fruit trees, Son La has become the largest fruit garden in the North. It also boasts the largest Arabica coffee area in the country with over 20,000 hectares; along with 5,235 hectares of tea, 9,259 hectares of sugarcane, 42,537 hectares of corn, and over 15,300 hectares of cassava.

A favourable business environment has attracted many investors to Son La province.

The Doveco Son La fruit and vegetable processing centre.

Director of the Department of Industry and Trade Nguyen Van Bac said that implementing the direction of the provincial Party Committee, over the past three years, the province's agricultural product processing industry has achieved positive results. In the 2021-2023 period, Son La province issued new investment policies for six projects, including the fruit and vegetable processing factory of the Doveco fruit and vegetable processing center; the Glucose BHL Son La liquid sugar processing factory; the agricultural product processing factory, the Nafoods Tay Bac Joint Stock Company; the Moc Chau agricultural product processing and preservation project of Tay Bac Trading Company Limited; the Moc Chau ecological and high-tech dairy farm complex of the Moc Chau Dairy Cattle Breeding Joint Stock Company; and the coffee processing factory of the Son La Coffee Processing Joint Stock Company. To date, two factories have been completed and put into operation.

The Doveco Son La fruit and vegetable processing center is a complex of agricultural product processing factories using modern technology from Italy, Japan and China, with a total capacity of 52,000 tonnes of products per year, with production lines of frozen, canned, dried and other products. Nguyen Hang Nga, Deputy Director of the Dong Giao Foodstuff Export Joint Stock Company’s Son La branch, said that the company has cooperated with other units to build raw material areas of nearly 12,000 hectares of Queen pineapple, passion fruit, sweet corn, vegetable soybeans, and spinach. The unit has purchased over 30,000 tonnes of products from raw material areas to process 1,460 tonnes of IQF mangoes, 541 tonnes of IQF vegetable soybeans, 15 tonnes of IQF passion fruit; over 700 tonnes of IQF sweet corn and 850 tonnes of canned sweet corn, creating jobs for 3,500 local workers.

The coffee processing factory of the Son La Coffee Processing Joint Stock Company covers over 4 hectares in Muong Bon commune, Mai Son district and has a capacity of 50,000 tonnes, employing more than 100 local workers.

Nguyen Nhu Hung, Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors, said in the new year, the company will link with businesses, cooperatives, cooperative groups and households to implement the strategy of developing sustainable coffee trees achieving 4C, RA, organic and European Union Deforestation-free Regulation (EUDR) certifications, creating high quality coffee products that meet export requirements.

In Son La, there are many more factories following the production and consumption chain. Son La farmers have more customers and partners to sell their products. Therefore, the position of local agricultural products has been increasingly enhanced.

Along with attracting investment to build concentrated agricultural processing factories, Son La province has issued mechanisms and policies to support and encourage businesses and processing facilities to upgrade and expand scale, and innovate technology and equipment. To date, the province has provided more than 27 billion VND (1.1 million USD) for 22 establishments, including cooperatives, businesses and households participating in preliminary processing and preservation of agricultural products.

After more than six years of operation, in October 2023, the Phuc Sinh Son La Joint Stock Company made new progress. This is the first factory to put into operation a Cascara tea processing line.

Vu Viet Thang, Director of the company, said previously all coffee pods were used as fertilizer or burning material. Putting the Cascara tea production line into operation has created a special product with high economic value warmly responded by European markets.

Hoang Thi Hong in Cu hamlet, Chieng Ban commune, Mai Son district, said that “Every year, my family is instructed by technical staff of the Phuc Sinh Son La Joint Stock Company on coffee care techniques according to export standards so my garden produces a high yield. With about 2 hectares of intercropped coffee, on average each year we harvest over 20 tonnes of fresh cherries, earning about 250 million VND (10,235 USD).”

In the past year, the agricultural product processing factory of Nafoods Northwest Joint Stock Company, in addition to an area of 2 hectares allocated by the province to build a workshop for passion fruit preliminary processing and packaging for export, has applied for an additional 0.78 hectare to build a factory for drying mango, banana, and plum fruits, with a capacity of 20 tonnes per day. Many cooperatives have also invested in dryers to improve productivity and quality of fruits and herbs. Currently, the province has over 560 agricultural product processing establishments and factories, including 50 for export.

According to Nguyen Thanh Cong, Vice Chairman of the provincial People's Committee, the production value of the province's agricultural product processing industry in the 2021-2022 period increased by 11.6% per year on average, exceeding the target of 9.5% set in the Party Central Committee’s Resolution 06-NQ/TU. Currently, Son La province is focusing on leading and directing the drafting of an industrial development plan integrated into the provincial Master Plan in the direction of developing processing industrial establishments associated with raw material areas.

Increasing value and reducing losses in agricultural production, Son La province is actively calling on businesses to invest in the agricultural product processing industry. Businesses are encouraged to closely link production, processing and product consumption, thereby forming "leading" enterprises as the nucleus, promoting the processing industry in a linked chain to increase the value of agricultural products and create more jobs for local workers. The province strives to have its agricultural product processing industry production value reach 6.5 trillion VND (266.1 million) by 2025.

With the effective and synchronous implementation of solutions, it is expected that Son La’s agricultural product processing industry will develop strongly, contributing to turning the province into an agricultural product processing center in the northwestern region and for a Son La of green, fast and sustainable development.​



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