For Mina Export, an exporting company based in Vietnam, investing in high-tech farming equipment has paid off. With a new license to export to the European market in the pocket, the company is ready to take the region by storm with their red chili, or as it’s called in Vietnam; Bird’s Eye Chili.
Mina Export has a farm that uses high-tech equipment to farm chili in their greenhouse. This allows them to cultivate a relatively large amount of chili using only 7 ha, Steven Le, export manager for Mina Export explains: “At present, our farm is the only hi-tech chili farm which is strictly supervised by the Vietnam Plant Protection Department and licensed to export to the European market. Our products are currently cultivated on an area of 7 hectares in green house. We also apply advanced technology of agricultural production in Israel, so we have an average yield of 2-3 tons per day and this number is constantly increasing.”
With the chili production increasing and the new license to export to Europe in hand, it means Mina Export has to look for new markets to sell their Bird’s Eye Chili to. “The market we target is the European high-end market. Before, Vietnam could only export fresh chili to two European countries: Norway and Switzerland. Owning a license to export to Europe has enabled us to become the only company in Vietnam that is now eligible to bring the chili product to the market in the remaining 27 countries in Europe including the Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium. This is a great opportunity for us to regain the trust of international customers for chili products from Vietnam.”
Vietnam isn’t the only country exporting the chili in the world, however. Mina Exports knew from the start they’d be dealing with fierce competition from Thailand, India and South Africa: “For us, the thing we want to create and emphasize for our products here is the difference in the quality of high-tech agriculture compared to the products cultivated in the traditional way. High-tech farming allows us to control the daily intake of chili; therefore, our products are very fragrant, spicy and especially the preservation time is longer than normal products. It’s our high-tech farming that allows our red chili to be competitive”
Although most of the world knows the product as Red Chili, in Vietnam they call it the Bird’s Eye Chili, which is very popular locally. Recognizing it is easy, according to Steven: "The chili is about 3-6 cm in average size, the Scoville scale is about 50,000-100,000 SHU and chili characteristically point to the sky. Bird’s eye chili is a very popular spice in Asian cuisines in general and Southeast Asia in particular. In Vietnamese cuisine, chili are used in soups, salads, and fried dishes. They are also made into dipping sauce such as fish sauce, soy sauce, salt or eat raw as a kind of spice.”