The southern province of Tay Ninh has approved a proposal from three local companies to build three new cassava processing plants, the first of their kind in the province.

Truong Hung Co,Ltd, Truong Thinh Co,Ltd and Viet Ma Co,Ltd will be allowed to invest in plants that can produce up to 150 tonnes of flour each day. The investment capital for each plant is estimated at 80 billion VND (3.8 million USD).

The plants will produce modified cassava starch, a special kind of flour used in the production of different foods, animal feed, drugs and industrial applications in Vietnam such as pulp production and weaving. Many Vietnamese enterprises still have to import modified cassava starch for production purposes.

Figures from the provincial People's Committee showed that there are 74 cassava processing businesses that produce nearly 800,000 tonnes of normal cassava starch per year.

Cassava plantations in the province cover approximately 45,500 hectares and produce 1.3 millions of tonnes of cassava per year.

Deputy chief of the secretariat of the provincial People's Committee, Pham Trung Chanh, said cassava starch was one of the province's key exports. Normal cassava starch was exported to mainland China, the Republic of Korea, the Phillipines and Taiwan, of which, 85 percent went to China.

However, in recent years, Chinese traders have cut imports of cassava, and large quantities have gone to waste in storage, causing losses for farmers.

According to the committee, in 2012, Vietnam exported 4.2 million tonnes of cassava to mainland China and earned 1.35 billion USD. In 2013, only 3.1 million tones of cassava was exported, worth 1.1 billion USD.

Chanh said the three factories would use normal cassava starch to produce modified cassava flour to solve the surplus and supply modified flour to the domestic market at cheaper prices.-VNA