General Introduction to the Vietnam Tapioca Industry

In Vietnam, there are two types of starch processing methods: modern factories and traditional household methods. In recent years, many large-scale factories have been established in the southern region, particularly in Tay Ninh Province. According to the 2005 statistical data from the Department of Natural Resources and Environment in Tay Ninh Province, there are 98 small-scale tapioca units, 11 medium-scale factories, and 16 large-scale factories in the area, consuming a total of 6,581 tons of fresh cassava roots per day. The majority of the province’s tapioca production capacity, about 66%, comes from the large-scale factories, while medium-scale and small-scale units contribute 13 and 21%, respectively.

To establish tapioca processing factories in Vietnam has benefits, but the environmental problems they create have become increasingly serious. Large-scale factories find it easier to implement waste reduction measures than household-scale ones. Investment in production technology and lack of environmental awareness and knowledge are the main reasons for the difficulties faced by household-scale enterprises. Most household-scale production wastewater is discharged untreated into the receiving source in some areas, but in Tay Ninh Province, the wastewater is stored in earth ponds surrounding the production area before discharge. The pollution of wells and springs in Dong Nai and Tay Ninh Provinces results directly from household-scale tapioca processing. This issue should serve as a warning for all areas where household-scale tapioca processing units are located. In large-scale factories, wastewater is treated in pond systems, but the effluent does not always meet Vietnamese industrial wastewater discharge standards.

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