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Arrowroot vermicelli - OCOP product of Bac Kan province opens the way for export to Europe and Japan

For a long time, Bac Kan has been renowned for the cultivation and processing of arrowroot vermicelli, especially in Con Minh commune, Na Ri district, with over 20 processing establishments. Na Ri arrowroot vermicelli is a type of vermicelli made from arrowroot tubers, a type of cereal plant extensively cultivated by the people of Na Ri in Bac Kan around their villages. Arrowroot is a familiar food item for many people, known for its high nutritional content and numerous health benefits.

Not only capturing the domestic market, but many of Bac Kan province's strong agricultural products, bearing the OCOP (One Commune One Product) label, are also succeeding in making a mark on the international stage. Remarkably, these export products carry a distinct imprint from cooperative groups.

Elevating the Specialty Product - Vermicelli noodles

With this objective in mind, Bac Kan has utilized resources from various programs to invest in supporting cooperatives and production-consumption complexes, bringing in over 1,000 tons of arrowroot vermicelli, generating revenue in the hundreds of billions of Vietnamese dong annually. Alongside this effort, the province consistently focuses on guiding the construction of brands, enhancing quality, improving packaging, design, and trade promotion to strengthen the brand presence of Bac Kan's arrowroot vermicelli in the market. As of early 2022, Bac Kan has over 50 arrowroot vermicelli processing establishments, including some with closed-loop factory-scale operations. Bac Kan's arrowroot vermicelli products have received geographical indications, OCOP (One Commune One Product) recognition, and are present in the national market through various large commercial center systems, providing stable income for growers and processors.

Journey of Bringing Bac Kan Arrowroot Vermicelli to Europe

Utilizing the local strengths, the Tai Hoan Arrowroot Vermicelli Cooperative made a strong impression by successfully exporting arrowroot vermicelli products that meet the 5-star OCOP standard of Bac Kan province to the European market, including the Czech Republic.

Through exchanges and collaboration with the Vietnamese Embassy and the Vietnamese Community Association in the Czech Republic, the delegation identified the needs and potential for the European market. The People's Committee of Bac Kan province agreed to choose the Tai Hoan Cooperative in Con Minh commune, Na Ri district, as the export partner for arrowroot vermicelli to Europe. The province allocated substantial resources to support the Tai Hoan Cooperative in improving its processing plant, providing a 2 billion VND grant for the cooperative to purchase machinery, equipment, drying facilities, etc. The processing capacity of the factory, which was initially around 10 tons of vermicelli per year, has now increased to over 300 tons per year.

"Getting our product to Europe is a preparation process that takes about 5-6 months. First, in terms of production, the raw material area must be clean, the product must be consistent, processed in a closed-loop process, ensuring hygiene and quality requirements," said Director Nguyen Thi Hoan.

Until now, Tai Hoan Cooperative's arrowroot vermicelli is the only product from Bac Kan certified with a 5-star OCOP national level. The fact that a cooperative of ethnic minorities in a remote area can bring its product to the demanding European market has significantly boosted the arrowroot vermicelli cultivation and processing industry in Bac Kan.

Deputy Chairman of the People's Committee of Bac Kan province, Do Thi Minh Hoa, mentioned: With the environmental and natural advantages, alongside arrowroot vermicelli, the province has many agricultural products with export potential to markets with high standards. If persistent and systematic, Bac Kan will have its own approach to agricultural production with an appropriate scale, leveraging its advantages to create branded and valuable products in the market.

The arrowroot vermicelli products of Tai Hoan Cooperative currently have attractive packaging with well-labeled information as per regulations. The products have been tested for food safety standards, containing no additives or preservatives. The average daily production of the cooperative is about 2 tons of finished vermicelli. In addition to serving the domestic market, they have exported to countries like the Czech Republic, Australia, and are considering entering markets such as South Korea and Japan. With proven quality, Director Nguyen Thi Hoan hopes to connect with more orders to create additional employment opportunities for the local people.

Promoting OCOP Products

This will be a systematic approach to elevate the production of an OCOP (One Commune One Product) specialty product in Cho Don specifically, and Bac Kan province as a whole.

The consecutive successes of cooperatives (HTX) in exporting their strong and unique products, especially to challenging global markets like the Middle East and Japan, demonstrate that with systematic investment and proactive innovation, winning over international consumers is entirely achievable. Regarding the OCOP program, the province is consolidating and enhancing the quality, expanding the production scale of recognized products, conducting reviews, providing guidance, and supporting entities to discover and develop new products. Simultaneously, there is a focus on networking, promotion, and facilitating the consumption of products, with a key emphasis on aiming for exports.

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