TH Group's Circular Economy: Helping to Raise Living Standards of Local People

4:29:40 PM | 11/28/2022

TH Group’s circular economy and sustainable development have brought about dramatic changes in the poor western land of Nghe An province. After more than a decade, Nghia Dan district saw the poverty rate fall from 23% to only 6.4% now.

TH Group’s milk plant

We witnessed miraculous changes in TH farms, with the clearest proof being better living standards of local people. Growing biomass maize as feed for cows has generated the main source of income for local farmers. A resident in Nghia Phu commune, Nghia Dan district, Nghe An province, said biomass maize is used to feed animals. Each biomass maize crop lasts only 3.5 months. Especially, it still grows in the cold winter of the north when other food crops cannot. Harvesting biomass corn is also much simpler as no milling is required. Each year, a hectare of biomass maize brings in an income of VND150 million, twice as much as before.

Biomass maize farms in Dong Hieu town, or manure from a closed high-tech dairy farm cluster are part of sustainable development, green economy and circular economy of TH Group.

The high-tech dairy farming and milk processing project was launched in 2009 when the concept of "circular economy" was still unfamiliar to Vietnamese businesses. TH Group pioneered building a “farm to folk” circular dairy production chain.

Building a circular economy is an vital trend to harmonize business benefits, environment and social responsibility, helping TH dairy farms get closer to the goal of delivering more value to the community and building a sustainable future.

With the “circular economy" as it is called at TH farms, "every waste output product of one stage is an input resource of another stage". Instead of being disposed of, resources are “recycled” to create new values, thereby reducing resource extraction, waste treatment cost and environmental pollution while protecting nature.

TH Group’s dairy cow breeding farm

This activity can be seen quite clearly in wastewater treatment on TH farms. Wastewater from livestock production after being treated is a source of highly nutritional liquid fertilizer. In particular, this source of nutrients is natural organic compounds, easy to decompose and easily absorbed by plants. With the use of this source of fertilizer, TH farms minimize the use of chemical fertilizers of inorganic origin that can have long-term consequences for arable land and the environment.

The remaining wastewater from livestock production is treated with modern, advanced technology and returned to nature in accordance with national standards. At wastewater treatment facilities, a large amount of “activated biological sludge” is recovered. This is a part of nutrients and minerals in wastewater that are absorbed by microorganisms and exist in solid form. After being dewatered and transported to an organic fertilizer factory, this is a source of highly nutritious, easily degradable organic matter that meets the requirements for high-quality organic fertilizer production. Wastewater treatment also generates biogas, which is regenerated into electricity to fuel factories. In the coming time, TH Group sets a goal that wastewater treatment plants can be self-sufficient in energy and unlinked from the national electricity grid.

Similarly, cattle waste at TH farms is treated as a resource. After being collected, it will be sorted, mixed, and matured to become biological buffers for farms and for organic fertilizer production. Organic fertilizers, biological buffers, and treated manure water become “inputs” of a new cycle, used to fertilize fields and serve farm operations.

Circular processes on TH farms are applied with advanced technology to have high efficiency. Like waste treatment, since 2016, TH farms have invested in mature to water separators. All leftovers and sludge from manure separating, after being pressed, are brought to compost fertilizer factories to manufacture organic fertilizers for cultivation and soil improvement. By 2020, TH Group installed solar panels on roofs of barns and factories (currently installed in five out of nine farms, TH dairy factories, purified water plants, Nui Tien medicinal herb and fruit factory) to generate a "green" power source on the one hand and reduce heat absorption to cool barns on the other.

Le Hien (Vietnam Business Forum)