|Inside a high-tech melon farm on the outskirts of Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Digital transformation is to provide the answers to a number of key limitations and shortcomings in Việt Nam's agriculture sector, said experts and policymakers at a conference yesterday in Hà Nội.
The conference was jointly organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Vietnam's Farmer Union to discuss how digital transformation can aid the development and sustainability of the agriculture sector.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phùng Đức Tiến said farmers across the country are tending to over 4.1 million hectares of agricultural land. Việt Nam's annual agricultural exports have reached well over US$40 billion in value to more than 180 countries and territories around the world. It's about time this enormous amount of information be digitalised and centralised in a database that helps plan and execute the country's agricultural production.
Lương Quốc Đoàn, president of the farmer union, said as the pandemic continued to ravage the global economy, digital transformation was no longer an option but has become a must for the country and its farmers
The transformation was said to play a key part in allowing farmers, collectives and businesses to improve productivity, product quality, operational efficiency, reduce costs and raise profits. In addition, it was expected to be the end of the sector's small-scale production model and to create large and strong value chains.
For example, thousands of tonnes of litchi have been delivered to consumers from in and outside the country this year with the support of technology, especially e-commerce platforms which alone accounted for the sales of over 8,000 tonnes of litchi, according to Phan Thế Tuấn, deputy chairman of the People's Committee of Bắc Giang Province, Việt Nam's largest litchi exporter.
In anticipation of the difficulties raised by the pandemic, the province was well-prepared to find alternatives to bring its products to consumers. With the support of digital technology, litchi from Bắc Giang have found their way to over 30 foreign markets including Australia, China, Japan, and Singapore.
In the domestic market, the province has been encouraging its farmers and collectives to enter collaborations with e-commerce platforms from in and out of the country including alibaba.com, san24h.vn, sendo.vn, voso.vn and postmart.vn, to name a few.
Tan Siang Hee, director of CropLife Asia, said Việt Nam has taken the first steps in digitalising its agricultural sector. The pandemic has forced the sector to speed up the process, especially in technology to help farmers and consumers connect.
Vietnamese farmers have been showing an interest to learn and implement digital technology in agricultural production, according to the result of a survey by CropLife Asia. Recent studies said up to 89 per cent of the Vietnamese population own and use mobile phones, of which 68 per cent are smartphones. This is a key component and an opportunity to implement digital technology in agricultural production.
Hoàng Quang Đông, a farmer from northern Hưng Yên Province, said his company has been spending money on advertising on e-commerce platforms and social media since 2016 to promote a new line of products: turmeric powder. The company has seen moderate successes with numerous contracts signed with buyers from the EU and Japan who have been buying hundreds of tonnes of their product annually. — VNS