Fiber foods

Pineapple fiber used to make brand bags, kimonos

Pineapple fiber, made from the leaves of the pineapple, absorbs sweat, is fine, smooth and soft, and more expensive than banana fiber but cheaper than silk fiber.

From local fields to stores in EU, Japan

Under the scorching summer sun, Nguyen Van Hanh’s sister can be seen picking pineapples, which take 18 months to ripen. The image of Hang’s sister hunched over among clumps of pineapples was a common scene from her childhood.

In March 2021, Ecosoi, or Eco Fiber Research to Production And Development JSC was established. Hanh was appointed production manager.

In the past, people had to soak the leaves to get the fibers, which was time consuming and caused water pollution. Now the company can take the leap with technology that produces pineapple fiber in a day.

Containers of pineapple fiber should leave for Switzerland in June 2022. A foreign partner orders seven tonnes of fiber per month.

Pineapple fiber is shipped to Europe to make valuable handbags. Instead of using animal skin, which requires slaughter, foreigners are increasingly using products made from natural and environmentally friendly materials.

Japanese importers are also negotiating with Hanh’s company on the purchase of pineapple fibers for the manufacture of certain products, including kimonos.

The fiber absorbs sweat and is more durable than banana fiber. It is more expensive than banana fiber, but cheaper than silk. Investments are needed to increase capacity and reduce production costs.

Since the company still has a small capital, it exports raw fiber to earn money to expand the workshop. Its founders would later consider making handicrafts out of pineapple fiber for domestic consumption and export.

Twelve people work at the company’s main workshop in Quynh Luu district of Nghe An. Company executives are considering other material production areas, such as Tie Giang, Thanh Hoa, Ninh Binh and Lao Cai , and plan to transfer spinning technology and purchase fiber in these areas.

During the harvest, his company can produce 15 to 20 tonnes of fiber per month, while the figure is only seven tonnes in other months.

Pineapple is grown in many parts of Vietnam and its leaves are often discarded. Now Hanh and his colleagues will produce fiber from the leaves.

“In the future, we will cooperate with associations of disabled people to produce, sew and knit handicrafts,” Hanh said of his project. “The road ahead is difficult, but I believe and hope for success.”

Vietnamese coffee, fish sauce and the way to Europe and the Middle East

While Nguyen Van Hanh was busy in a pineapple fiber extraction workshop in early October, the main managers of several companies from the Czech Republic and Russia were in mandatory quarantine in Da Nang and Hanoi. After quarantine, they headed to HCM City.

At the factory of Meet More Coffee in Hoc Mon district of HCM City, after learning about the processing and inputs, the foreign partners signed coffee import contracts.

On January 1, 2022, two 40-foot containers of Vietnamese coffee, worth $220,000, or VND 5 billion, left for markets with signed contracts.

“Before that, we exchanged information online. Product samples were sent during the lockdown period. Foreign partners notice our products because of the original taste. In addition to coffee, we also use extracts from some agricultural products,” said Meet More CEO Nguyen Ngoc Luan.

Before returning to the domestic market in late 2021, Pacific Foods’ MaMi fish sauce had a tough time on the other side of the hemisphere. Le Ba Linh, chairman of the company, racked his brains to find a way to bring Vietnam’s traditional fish sauce to the Amazon market.

After registration and advertisements, the product is now well known in the US market and was listed as the number one fish sauce on Amazon in April 2020.

Fish sauce now competes with products from Thailand and Malaysia. Two containers of fish sauce (50,000 bottles) are exported to the United States every month.

The product is also present in Europe, Canada, Singapore and will enter Australia, Malaysia and China. Pacific Foods follows the necessary procedures to obtain a Halal certificate to enter Islamic markets.

Once companies become powerful, they can export to many markets instead of relying on a few partners, Linh said.

Vietnamese companies targeting international markets are improving the import-export balance. According to GDC, Vietnam’s import and export turnover reached $602 billion in the first 11 months of 2021, officially surpassing the record of $500 billion set two years ago.

Of this amount, the export turnover was $299.67 billion, up 17.5%, and the import turnover was 299.45%, up 27 .5%. Thus, Vietnam had a trade surplus of $225 million.

In terms of export product structure, exports of fuels and minerals were worth $3.57 billion, agricultural and forestry products $21.4 billion (+15.4%) and seafood products 7 .95 billion dollars (+ 3.5%).

Processed industrial products remain the main export products with an export turnover of 266.75 billion dollars (+18%), which represents 89% of the country’s total export turnover.

The United States in 2021 was Vietnam’s largest market. It imported $84.8 billion worth of products.

Tran Chung

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