The idea of recycling corncobs came to the students from BVIS, Concordia, BIS and Archimedes schools after they returned from a trip to Mai Chau in Hoa Binh province last summer.
“When we were going on the road, we saw farmers burning corncobs on both sides. Burning generates toxic gases which harm people’s health. We decided to recycle corncobs and turn them into natural nutrients to serve the cultivation and livestock industry,” said Nguyen Ngoc Khanh Linh, a member of the group.
The students spent one year to draw up a production plan, build a business strategy and launch products into the market.
After presenting the project, the parents agreed to fund the project.
“With the help of our parents, we visited some factories and enterprises and learned about the technology of making fertilizer from natural materials. This motivated us to go further,” Linh said.
Nearly one year later, Cobtain Vietnam Production and Trading Co Ltd was established. The name of the company, which is the combination of ‘cob’ and ‘obtain’, shows the founders’ desire to make products of sustainable quality from corncobs.
The students hired a plant in Hoa Binh to recycle corncobs into two major product items. The first is a corncob tablet used as food. It helps keep cattle warm in cold weather. The tablets are also used to line the barn floor which helps decompose waste. In addition, it can also be spread on the ground surface to maintain humidity and nutrients from fertilizers for plants.
The second product is ground corncobs, used to spread over crops.
“We read many documents and we found that the cob has many advantages over rice husk, coconut fiber and rice straw thanks to the high protein content. We just need to grind, dry and press into tablets, and corncobs preserve their nutrients,” Linh explained.
“Materials are collected for production and the finished products are sold to farmers. So, this is a closed production process, with no waste,” said Nguyen Vinh Hanh Linh, another member of the group.
Phuong Nhi, in charge of marketing, said there were many things the students had to learn.
“The biggest difficulty is surveying the market. It took us more than a month to find all of the companies in Vietnam and overseas that are our rivals,” she said.
“We also had to list the names of pet shops, ornamental plan shops, and residential quarters in Hanoi, and we visited them to seek clients,” she said.
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