It is approximately a 90-minute drive from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanh Phuc’s insect farm located in Nhon Trach District, Dong Nai Province.
Despite having GPS maps, our correspondents faced difficulties navigating through rice paddies, canals, and winding, narrow roads that were undergoing construction.
Converting Waste into Valuable Resources
“I travel every day, so I have become accustomed to it,” stated Huynh Hanh Phuc, a person whose name generates over 28 million search results on Google.
The young man graciously led the reporters on an antiquated motorcycle, as he guided them to his expansive 2,200-square-meter farm housing a thriving community of 5,000 chickens.
Hanh Phuc, a 36-year-old farmer, begins his typical day at dawn. He departs from his residence in Ho Chi Minh City and commutes to his two agricultural holdings situated in either the Nhon Trach or Vinh Cuu District of Dong Nai.
“There, I support my colleagues in the task of feeding the chickens, carefully observing their behavior and taking detailed notes,” he stated.
In the morning, I handle a variety of business affairs which include reviewing documents, addressing partner inquiries, verifying technical procedures executed by the team, and commuting between the two farms. This typically begins at 9:00 AM.
My day typically concludes around midnight or in the early hours of the morning.
|Huynh Hanh Phuc checks the quality of waste before recycling it on his farm in Dong Nai Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Our chickens are raised in a spacious and open environment, allowing them the freedom to run and roam. Throughout the day, our dedicated staff works closely with the birds, in close proximity to their waste and natural fertilizer. As a result, there may be a slight and distinct aroma in the vicinity of Hanh Phuc.
Hanh Phuc offered an explanation by stating, “I typically dispose of refuse and manage beneficial bacteria, while directly removing insect larvae by hand.”
Probiotics have been known to cause discoloration and fading of clothing, leaving a persistent odor even after repeated washing with soap.
“In a previous experience on a large farm, I encountered an incident involving duck waste. Unexpectedly, the waste splashed and soiled both my attire and myself.”
Upon my arrival at home that day, my wife promptly instructed me to immediately proceed with taking a shower, alternatively threatening me with the prospect of sleeping on the floor for the night.
Hanh Phuc Farms specializes in the cultivation of black soldier flies, which are globally recognized as a sustainable and ethical source of protein. With the increasing concerns over depleting fish stocks due to overfishing, our farm offers a viable alternative to traditional fish protein sources.
According to Hanh Phuc, black soldier flies have an exceptional ability to quickly process waste, resulting in the production of organic fertilizer in a significantly short period of time.
Dead larvae can serve as a valuable food source and can be mixed into the feed of chickens, pigs, and eels.
Using this particular species of flies for waste recycling is an ideal model for promoting environmental sustainability.
The odor emanating from waste can be effectively reduced through the use of insect larvae and probiotics.
|Larvae of black soldier flies hatched on Hanh Phuc’s farms in Dong Nai Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Hanh Phuc has recently introduced a new initiative called Green Connect, aimed at enhancing the connection between waste suppliers and demanders.
Hanh Phuc is currently undertaking an ambitious project focused on the transportation and processing of waste. One of the key objectives of this project is to bridge the gap between waste generated by supermarkets and the potential use of this waste as a source of feed for farmers’ herds.
“We aim to transform waste into valuable resources and establish a sustainable cycle encompassing various phases. Our initiatives include generating materials for food cultivation and production, playfully referred to as ‘putting waste on the table’.”
The Green Connect project will derive its power from waste and organic by-products obtained from restaurants and supermarkets.
The partners receive guidance on proper waste sorting techniques.
We responsibly dispose of packaging labels, nylon packaging, and rubber bands, ensuring their proper recycling or disposal. Afterwards, we incorporate the probiotics provided by Green Connect into our products.
During the next phase, the processed waste is carefully packaged in airtight containers and transported to the farms during the daytime.
At present, the two farms operated by Green Connect are capable of processing approximately 40 metric tons of waste on a monthly basis.
|As a CEO, Hanh Phuc does not hesitate to help carry waste packages to his farms in Dong Nai Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Embracing every moment with utmost enjoyment and fulfillment
Upon Hanh Phuc’s return to Vietnam from the United States in 2016, he initiated his inaugural project, Teach for Vietnam. In an article published by Tuoi Tre, he expressed his ambitious mission: “By 2050, we aim to provide a comprehensive education system to all Vietnamese children, regardless of their socioeconomic background.”
Currently, Teach for Vietnam is functioning effectively, therefore, I will be delegating its responsibilities to my team while devoting my attention to the Green Connect project.
“These two projects are closely interconnected,” he emphasized.
Green Connect is dedicated to creating a cutting-edge cultivation trend that is not only sustainable, but also practical and efficient.
By implementing these measures, the rural area’s quality of life will be enhanced and the aspiration of providing quality education for underprivileged children will be actualized.
After completing his rigorous Harvard degree, the ambitious individual made the courageous decision to decline a lucrative monthly salary in Singapore worth hundreds of millions of Vietnamese dong. Instead, he chose to return to Vietnam and pursue his own entrepreneurial endeavors.
Hanh Phuc is occasionally approached with inquiries regarding any potential regrets he may have had regarding that decision.
“Upon contemplation, I found it intriguing,” he remarked after a brief period of consideration.
The experience has brought me immense joy.
During the day, I work as a farmer, but in the evening when I attend speaking engagements, I dress in formal attire complete with a tie and polished shoes.
The young entrepreneur expressed unwavering determination and optimism in the face of numerous challenges, emphasizing their role as a trailblazer poised to positively influence both the community and the environment.
“The level of earnings I have achieved adequately sustains my lifestyle and, more significantly, affords me the opportunity to lead a purposeful life dedicated to enhancing the community through passion and the creation of value.”
Hanh Phuc’s dream of realizing his vision relies heavily on the support and assistance of his valuable companions. Among them is Huynh Phu Cuong, a dedicated individual who is actively involved in assisting Hanh Phuc with the successful execution of the Green Connect project.
Cuong, a biochemist, expressed his deep concern regarding the extensive waste dumps that have been left unaddressed, highlighting the lack of attention and awareness towards their detrimental impact and the urgent need for effective management.
Cuong emphasized the importance of employing high-quality fertilizers for the cultivation of healthy agricultural products, despite the prevalent use of chemical fertilizers in Vietnam, a nation renowned for its livestock and cultivation practices.
Cuong reflected on his previous project experience, in which he encountered numerous challenges and experienced a sense of isolation.
After a fortuitous encounter with Hanh Phuc, I discovered his exceptional talent and realized he shared my vision, leading me to make the decision to collaborate with him.
|Hanh Phuc checks the process of black soldier fly larvae hatching on his farms in Dong Nai Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Raising Chickens: Providing Adequate Space
When it comes to raising chickens as livestock, Hanh Phuc recognizes that it is essential to provide the birds with not only a living space but also an expansive environment where they can roam freely, just as they would in their natural habitat.
“We have opted for spacious cages that allow the chickens to live in comfort,” stated Hanh Phuc.
According to a recent decree by the European Commission, it has been mandated that starting in 2023, all chicken eggs sold within the continent will be required to meet the standard of being produced by ‘happy chickens.’
The practice of raising ‘happy chickens’ or organic chickens involves providing free-range birds with unrestricted access to nature, sunlight, and organic feed. This approach has gained significant traction in various developed countries in recent times.
The agricultural practices employed for raising chicken flocks in this manner tend to incur higher costs, resulting in increased prices for both eggs and chickens.
“Not everyone is willing to pay a 30 percent premium for this particular type of chicken, but I consider myself fortunate to have the backing of the contented chicken farming model,” commented Hanh Phuc.
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