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Vietnam’s agriculture in race to digital transformation

The SATForRice program is conducted by spectroscopic analysis

Initial results

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), so far digital transformation in the agricultural sector has been applied in cultivation, husbandry, fisheries and forestry, yielding excellent results.

Specifically, programs and software to manage plantations and precision agriculture are applied to optimize the use of resources (water, fertilizers, etc.) and gradually switch from traditional to modern farming methods to increase crop yield, reduce dependence on environmental and weather conditions, control disease and improve breeds.

Initial digital transformation has been applied effectively in the fishery sector

It is estimated that by the end of 2021, there were 19,000 agricultural cooperatives and 79 unions of agricultural cooperatives across the country, of which over 2,200 cooperatives have applied digital technology in production, accounting for 12 percent.

With the support of authorities and leading e-commerce platforms, more than two million agricultural production households have received digital skills training, nearly 50,000 agricultural products have been made available on e-commerce platforms, and thousands of electronic transactions have been carried out, reflecting the initial effectiveness of digital transformation in agriculture.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has made digital transformation a mandatory requirement for each country, sector, and person. Serving as the backbone of the national economy, digital transformation in the agricultural sector will be one of the key factors to help farmers, farms, cooperatives and businesses improve productivity and quality, optimize production, reduce costs and increase profits.

More comprehensive solutions needed

Despite the opportunity for change in the agricultural sector, digital transformation has encountered obstacles. For example, only 23 percent of enterprises engage in technological innovation; the rate of technology imports is only 10 percent, and 75 percent of technologies from the 1980s-1990s are outdated. Meanwhile, investment in research and development in science and technology remain limited and ineffective.

The “Made in Vietnam” management model for agricultural cooperatives will increase the value of farm produce

Director of CropLife Asia Dr. Tan Siang Hee said Vietnam has taken initial steps in agriculture digitalization. In the context of the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic, the agricultural sector has transformed itself very quickly, strengthening connections between farmers and consumers. According to a survey of over 130 rice, fruit, coffee and vegetable farmers, 42 percent wish to switch to digital agriculture, but do not know how to apply new technologies. However, 89 percent of the Vietnamese population use mobile phones and 68 percent of them are smart phone users, exposing farmers to advanced technology and their advantages and providing an opportunity for them to implement it in agriculture.

To promote agricultural digital transformation, Dr. Tran Cong Thang, Director of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, has proposed compiling a national information database on agriculture and identifying prioritized digital technologies and fields for short, medium and long term development. Thang also recommended adopting incentive policies and financial support for small-scale farmers, encouraging the consolidation of farming plots, promoting collective economy and value chain linkage, and piloting implementation of smart new rural commune models for the 2021-2025 period.

Digital transformation is a long process. Apart from efforts by enterprises and farmers, in order to make it

effective it also needs a synchronous engagement of central and local agencies, ministries and sectors.

Thanh Thanh

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