3:20:56 PM | 12/10/2011
Quang Tri Trading One Member Limited Company (Sepon Group) is the only wholly State-owned enterprise administered by the Quang Tri Provincial People’s Committee. Sepon Group, set up 38 years ago, has overcome numerous difficulties and challenges to become a strong brand of the province.
Currently, Sepon Group has 11 member companies and branches in Ho Chi Minh City, Laos, Thailand and is operating in six business fields: Production (with four factories specialised in producing manioc, agricultural products and micro-organism fertilisers), import-export (The company is now an authorised agent for Thai companies to sell more than 1,000 types of goods in agents in 42 provinces and cities in the country. Sepon is also the only company in Quang Tri province to have trade relations with 150 countries and territories); domestic and commercial services (the company is running agents that sell farm produce in Quang Tri province, oil filling stations in Dong Ha City and some districts in Quang Tri province); hotel and travel service (trans-Asia road tours); foreign cooperation investment (the company is coordinating to build Co.op Mart Supermarket in Dong Ha City).
The year 2002 marked a milestone in the development history of the company when the leaders decided to choose Road 9, a section of the Trans-Asia Road, to be a vital line and define farmer-centred investment as the future investment. In 2003, Sepon Group built a modern tapioca starch processing plant with a daily capacity of 600 tonnes of fresh cassava in Huong Hoa district, Quang Tri province.
New driving force for agricultural economy
Director of Department of Industry and Trade of Quang Tri province and former Director of Sepon Group, Mr Ho Dai Nam, recalled: “More than eight years ago, we came to the Lia region which was regarded as a dangerous area. Several crop varieties could not live on this soil. We had to study a lot to find suitable crops. Finally, we found cassava.”
Then, the plan for building the material zone was kicked off and the construction on processing facilities was started. The firm trained planting techniques, supplied fertilisers and crops, and purchased products for farmers. After eight years, living standards of local people have been significantly improved. The company has also supported farmers to visit Southeast Asian nations to learn new farming techniques. The VND100-million club which gathers farmers with the productivity of VND100 million revenues per hectare a year was set up in the previously impoverished area.
As the factory is located in a remote area, it encounters numerous difficulties. To meet environmental requirements, the company invested US$2 million to build a biogas system to collect gas to fuel facilities (this model is funded US$2 million by an international institution). Sepon Group collects farming waste to produce organic fertilisers to directly fertilise cassava plants. Tapioca starch production is the only self-contained processing model in Vietnam. It manufactures effectively and protects the environment.
Following the successful model with cassava plants and manioc processing factory, the company continues to study and restore the brand name of Cua - Cam Lo pepper, restore Dragon Blood rice - a specialty of Quang Tri, and plant chilli peppers. Mr Ho Xuan Hieu, Director of the company, said: Quang Tri has a lot of specialty crops. Our concern is how to preserve them and help farmers make a profit. Sepon will make every effort to do this.
With its successes and contributions, Sepon Group has been the biggest taxpayer in Quang Tri province for years. The company was awarded the Third Grade Labour Order by the State President in 1996, the Second Grade Labour Order in 2006, and the First Grade Labour Order in 2010. The firm targets to deserve the “Labour Hero in the Renovation Process” title in 2013 and become a powerful economic group by 2015.