Changing the face of the Central Highlands: TH Group develops green, circular economy

Following the company’s resounding success thanks to a combination of high technology and agricultural science in many localities, TH Group is stepping up preparations for a project that applies high technology with the green, knowledge-based, and circular economy model in the Central Highlands.

On November 20, 2022, the dairy producer officially signed memoranda of understanding with the People’s Committees of Lam Dong and Dak Lak provinces, a move expected to contribute to the sustainable development of the Central Highlands. The signing took place at a conference chaired by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh to implement the Politburo’s Resolution No 23-NQ/TW on development orientations for this high-potential region.

From a broad perspective of reality…

At that conference, Labour Hero Thai Huong, founder and Chairwoman of the Strategy Council of TH Group, delivered a noteworthy speech. She voiced support for Resolution No 23-NQ/TW’s ambitious goal of turning the Central Highlands into a region with green and circular economy, based on sustainable development that maximises resources, including land and climate, so as to guarantee social equality and improves the quality of life for local residents.

However, she also emphasised that today’s growth and development must not be cited as an excuse for environmental consequences for future generations.

Huong said she came to the Central Highlands early, shortly after setting up TH Group in 2008, folliwng a circular economy model that uses high technology. Present in Kon Tum province for the last two years, the business has farmed 500ha of a new durian variety. It is planning to expand the cultivation here and in the Central Highlands.

Labour Hero Thai Huong addresses the conference. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

The Central Highlands has yet to live up to its development potential. Large enterprises have yet to set up shop here, thus the Government needs to set up appropriate policies to attract them here. Meanwhile, the region boasts a vast area of land. The conundrum is how to best make use of the land resource for developing a green and circular economy, she pointed out.

The TH Group leader elaborated that the Central Highlands boasts a land-related advantage, but that advantage has remained untapped for decades. Many areas that used to be home to forests have suffered from deforestation or flooding. When the group proposed developing green economic activities there, local authorities were concerned about forest conservation. Therefore, she requested that a map of the local land status be re-drawn.

A green economy is one that efficiently uses natural resources, thus creating a basis for sustainable development, guaranteeing social equality, and does not cause environmental impact on future generations. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Many things can be developed in the Central Highlands, but it is necessary to have large-scale production models, create national-level brands meeting international standards, and using high technology. The world has obtained many achievements in the development of technology, artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and big data, and Vietnam should make use of these to raise labour productivity, reduce production costs, and improve product quality to meet international standards, Thai Huong told the conference.

These ideas, to date, have been successfully applied to TH Group projects.

She noted that a green economy is one that efficiently uses natural resources, thus creating a basis for sustainable development, guaranteeing social equality, and does not cause environmental impact on future generations.

Labour Hero Thai Huong addresses the conference. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

The group identified six pillars of sustainable development, namely nutrition, the environment, the community, education, animal welfare, and human, of which human forms the core pillar and the most important driving force.

To build a sustainable ecosystem based on those pillars, since 2008, it has applied green technologies with high intellectual content and the latest technology to dairy farming so as to utilise resources in the most efficient manner.

In its production model, all organic materials and waste from farms are collected and treated to become organic fertiliser or biological padding used in farms. Farming wastewater is used to improve soil after being treated. Besides, solar power systems are installed on the roofs of dairy farms, concurrently helping generate electricity and reducing the roofs’ absorption of temperature, and easing the heat stress on cattle in summer.

… to four key areas for Central Highlands development

With the potential of the Central Highlands and her experiences and capacity, Labour Hero Thai Huong identified four areas that can help with the development of this region.

She said that the Central Highlands boasts sufficient conditions to strongly develop large-scale and hi-tech animal husbandry.

TH will bring the chain-based hi-tech concentrated dairy farming model that it is implementing in the central province of Nghe An to the Central Highlands. The group is working on a plan to carry out this model in Dak Nong province and nearby areas so as to link farmers to the production chain, she stressed in her remarks at the November conference.

Chairman of the Dak Nong provincial People’s Committee Ho Van Muoi hands over the memorandum of understanding on cooperation to Vijay Kumar Pandey, a representative of the Board of Directors of TH Group. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

In terms of mining, as the region possesses large bauxite reserves, the Government should make planning early and strongly apply science and technology to mining activities.

Only when modern scientific advances are applied can a green economy develop and exploitation impacts be avoided, she said, adding that fruit and herbal plant farming should be developed in the areas with little reserves instead of trying to mine at all costs.

In addition, groundwater is also a field in which TH Group is planning to focus its investment in the future.

Huong said the Central Highlands is home to good groundwater resources thanks to a volcanic ecosystem, and that she had suggested her business invest in groundwater exploitation in Dak Nong. “Vietnamese consumers deserve the purest water and best nutritional sources.”

In her speech, she also noted as this region gathers all the necessary conditions for tourism development, authorities should make plans to enrich the diversity of cultural, culinary, and craft village tourism instead of merely “bringing a whole Disneyland from the US here”.

Labour Hero Thai Huong addresses the conference. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

To help carry out the Politburo’s Resolution No 23-NQ/TW to give a facelift to the Central Highlands, TH Group signed two cooperation agreements with the People’s Committees of Lam Dong and Dak Nong provinces to develop investment projects applying high technology in different fields.

The group is taking the lead in the fresh milk market of Vietnam and has recorded double-digit revenue growth annually. While the land area in the northern region is limited, making it hard for the firm to expand production, the company realised that the Central Highlands, especially Dak Nong and Lam Dong, holds great potential for becoming the capital of dairy farming and a milk production centre for the southern market of Vietnam.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh visits an exhibition of local products at the conference. (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Here, TH Group will give guidance on the production process, technology, and management to farmers, provide them with calves, and purchase products so as to generate considerable economic benefits for farmers.

They also propose fruit and herbal plant farming and processing projects that apply high technology, a water production plant, a logistics centre, a mineral mining project, and sustainable tourism development projects.

In Lam Dong, the enterprise will continue promoting hi-tech dairy farming, cultivating fruit and herbal plants in accordance with VietGAP, GlobalGAP, and organic standards, and developing fruit and herb processing.

On the sidelines of the conference, Labour Hero Thai Huong said that to develop the Central Highlands under a green economy model towards sustainable development, capable and visionary enterprises need to apply global technology to help locals develop.

To capitalise on these achievements, it is necessary to issue some appropriate policies and mechanisms for each period and each sector to translate aspirations into reality and create enormous strength for the nation. This will allow Vietnam to become prosperous and civilised, comparable with developed countries across five continents as late President Ho Chi Minh had envisioned, the businesswoman added.

TH Group runs many production and business projects, including TH true MILK – a project on hi-tech concentrated dairy farming and processing. Implemented in October 2009, the project, with total investment of 1.2 billion USD, covers dairy farming, processing, and distribution. It has nearly 70,000 cows in Nghe An province, establishing itself as the world’s largest concentrated dairy farm.

According to Nielsen statistics, TH Group has recorded continuous growth in its fresh milk market share, nearly 45% in urban areas in 2021, maintaining its No. 1 position in Vietnam.

Aside from fresh milk, the firm also operates food, beverage, vegetable, fruit, and herb cultivation projects; the TH School system; along with a five-star international general hospital and an electronic health centre network in Hanoi./.