Agriculture

Quality nuts processed in Vietnam

How Thai Gia Son is cracking the cashew business

A visit to one of Vietnam’s largest nut processing companies shows just how much work is involved in producing nuts – and how much they contribute towards the lives of local people.

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Thai Gia Son Ltd in Binh Phuoc Province, Vietnam, processes around 20,000 kilograms of cashew kernels and 6,000 kilograms of macadamia kernels per year.

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Thai Gia Son has been working with responsAbility since 2014. It now employs 30 people and exports to many countries, including USA, UAE, India, Germany, Turkey, Singapore, South Korea and Switzerland.

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Vietnam has made exceptional progress in growth and development in recent years. But if this momentum is to be maintained, private investment is crucial.

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The country is the world’s largest processor of cashews. Before the nuts are served with cocktails, they undergo an elaborate production process.

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Vietnam has one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia. Ho Chi Minh City (the former Saigon) is the symbol of this growth. It is home to some eight million people and seven million registered mopeds!

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Progress in Vietnam has been from a very low base. The gap between cities and the countryside remains substantial: 90% of Vietnam’s poor live in rural areas.

Women sell fruit on the streets of Hoi An and fishing is done the traditional way with nets in Da Nang.

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Entire families live from cashews in Vietnam. Large processors like Thai Gia Son support this by working together with them.

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Thai Gia Son is a family business, comprising eight brothers. Contrary to Vietnamese tradition, it’s not run by the eldest brother but by 41-year-old Thai Doan Nghia (pictured).

He founded the company in 2006 with his own savings, having previously worked with Vietnamese and Dutch trading companies.

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Between being harvested and reaching the consumer, cashews have an exceptionally long value chain. This requires a high level of liquidity for all parties involved.

Investments by responsAbility contribute towards this process and enable local people to live from these precious nuts.

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After harvesting, the cashews are sorted by size. Jute sacks in the warehouse are stacked almost right up to the roof. When sorted, the nuts are treated with hot steam.

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In Quality Control, employees remove any bad nuts. Final quality checking takes place in the hall – all by hand. Strict hygiene regulations mean that all employees wear a hairnet and special clothing.

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The kernels are sorted and transported for processing.

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Women exclusively do the labour-intensive manual sorting. As well as cashews, Thai Gia Son also processes macadamia nuts.

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Thai Doan Nghia has built apartments next to the factory. Employees and their families can live here rent-free during the season, eliminating the need to travel long distances to work.

The company even finances a local school so the children can attend while their parents are working in the factory.

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Nguyen Phong (left) is one of many local processors who work for Thai Gia Son. Phong used to work as a bus driver but his wages were barely enough to keep his family’s heads above water.

Three years ago, his family began processing cashew nuts, initially selling them at local markets.

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When Phong succeeded in becoming a Thai Gia Son customer, his business blossomed. The family business now employs 50 workers and produces 7,000 kilograms of cashews each day for Thai Gia Son.

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Local workers are thankful for the work provided by Thai Doan Nghia and these valuable nuts.

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Anshul Jindal, Senior Investment Officer Asia Pacific at responsAbility, has been working with Thai Doan Nghia since 2014.

Helping Thai Gia Son grow more quickly and hire more workers benefits local farmers and processors as they receive more contracts from the company.

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You can read the whole story by downloading the 16-page case study Quality nuts processed in Vietnam.

You can read the whole story by downloading the 16-page case study Quality nuts processed in Vietnam.

You can read the whole story by downloading the 16-page case study Quality nuts processed in Vietnam.