TH Group strives for agricultural quality

April 30, 2019 | 15:00
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With a big focus on hi-tech agricultural investment resulting in a surge in revenue and profit over the past few years, TH Group has continued taking the lead in applying high technology into agricultural projects in Vietnam. Thanh Dat reports.
th group strives for agricultural quality
TH Group has grown remarkably with its fresh dairy products

For the last 10 years, TH Group, owner of the renowned TH true MILK brand in Vietnam, has been operating a $1.2 billion hi-tech concentrated dairy and fresh milk facility in Nghia Dan district of the central province of Nghe An.

Recognised by the Indian-based Asia Book of Records as the biggest hi-tech cow-raising facility in Asia, the farm has been applying high technology in all of its production stages.

There are many examples of a global footprint making a mark in the facility. The technology in cow management originates from Israel’s Afimilk, while animal health management tech is imported from New Zealand’s Totally VET. Elsewhere, the cow feed processing and managing comes from Israel’s Ration All and One 1.

Meanwhile, the cow-oriented water filtering is a product of Amiad, also of Israel, and the wastewater treatment technology is imported from Aqua in the Netherlands. Japan’s SunEarth produces the compost processing, while the financial management technology stems from Germany.

All of these are applied in integrated production chains. With this model, TH Group has been recognised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as the sole enterprise in Vietnam with such hi-tech applications.

Thanks to modern governance and machinery systems, the labour capacity at TH currently stands at a very high level. Specifically, only one or two workers are required to take care of thousands of cows. This is 10-20 times higher than through manual labour.

Currently, the group is also constructing the first phase of a major hi-tech concentrated dairy farm in the south-central province of Phu Yen. The 82-hectare phase has total investment capital of VND1.15 trillion ($50 million), with 5,000 dairy cows.

In the second phase, from 2019-2022, the number of cows will increase to 20,000, with total investment capital mounting to VND4.57 trillion ($198.7 million). All animals are imported from the United States.

Also at present, while constructing a $2.7 billion hi-tech concentrated dairy and fresh milk production project in Russia, TH Group is constructing a similar project in the Republic of Bashkortostan, a federal subject of Russia.

A spectacular breakthrough

Since its initial development stage, TH Group has poured a great deal of money into importing the world’s most modern machinery and equipment for its dairy farms and fresh milk processing.

With her passion and great devotion to hi-tech agricultural projects and fresh milk production, group founder Thai Huong decided to utilise technological and scientific achievements to create the best milk products for the Vietnamese people.

Over the past decade, TH Group has marketed more than 70 types of different fresh milk-based products. Huong has also been recognised as the inventor of Vietnam’s safe fresh milk ­industry. She has also strived to make the Vietnamese milk ­market transparent and in line international standards.

TH Group has made a spectacular breakthrough in its growth. According to Nielsen, a leading global information and measurement company, TH true MILK products grew almost 22 per cent on-year in outputs in the first 11 months of 2018, while the country’s liquid milk industry saw almost no growth. At present, TH’s market share in fresh milk in urban areas is nearly 40 per cent, making the group the leader in this area.

Meanwhile in urban locations, where consumption of liquid milk products has been slowing down, TH’s fresh milk products have been enjoying an on-year 15 per cent increase.

In addition, according to the group’s financial reports, its net profit hit VND319 billion ($13.9 million) in 2017, and VND450 billion ($19.56 million) last year, 15 times higher than in 2014.

In 2018, TH Group raked in more than VND7 trillion ($304 million) in revenue, far outpacing what founder Huong ever envisioned just a few years ago.

“I produce fresh and clean milk, as if I am taking care of my children,” Huong said.

The best milk for all

Before TH true MILK was created, the Chinese milk market was rocked by a melamine scandal caused by a milk production firm. At the time, Huong found that she must act quickly with her own safe fresh milk projects.

“The users of milk are mostly children, who are of course Vietnam’s future. Thus the milk products for them must be safe,” Huong said. “But in order to implement projects, I needed a teacher. Thus I found the teachers in Israel, the world’s leader in raising dairy cows. Israel also has similar climate conditions as Vietnam.”

One of the advantages for Vietnam is its potential-filled agriculture. It has taken time for Huong to find suitable products, but finally she decided to invest in producing fresh milk and other products such as vegetables, herbs, and fruit.

Vietnam once suffered a lack of fresh milk. Huong believed that the biggest reason was that the country did not have a big herd of dairy cows able to meet local demand for milk material. The country also did not have modern technology to raise cows that could produce high quality milk.

“Thanks to our projects, Vietnam’s dairy cow herds have increased remarkably, and other milk makers will have to make greater efforts,” she said.

“Cows are also like humans. If they are treated well, they will give good milk,” Huong added. “If we are careless in milking, it will be contaminated with bacteria and consist of low quality. Dairy cows can easily be exposed to mastitis. Thus if we have no monitoring system to examine the milk before we milk the animals, the milk may be contaminated by blood or pus.”

“If a cow is found to have insufficient milk, it must be separated from the herd to be fed with more nutritious ­substances. Before the TH true MILK project was implemented, the country had no ­specific standards on producing fresh and clean milk,” Huong added.

“I am proud that I have paved the way for this ­industry’s development. ­Production of fresh milk needs a perfect process from breed ­selection and taking care of cows, to product preservation and distribution.”

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