Việt Nam and Japan to promote further cooperation in hi-tech agricultural development

September 12, 2023 - 07:40
Việt Nam's enterprises must have qualified human resources and business plans meeting green and sustainability standards of foreign investors, including Japanese investors
A view of Niinuma Tomofarm, a Japanese high-tech farm in Kon Tum Province specialising in planting temperate fruits and vegetables. — VNA/VNS Photo Dư Toán

Hoàng Hà

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam will further promote cooperation with Japan in the field of high-tech agricultural development, according to an official of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

To attract Japanese investors into the agricultural sector, especially high-tech agriculture, the ministry is reviewing and building the Medium and Long-term Vision for Việt Nam-Japan Agricultural Cooperation for the phase of 2025-2028, supplementing two new fields of developing green and sustainable agriculture with the application of advanced technologies, and vocational training in the agricultural sector, said Nguyễn Đỗ Anh Tuấn, director of MARD's Department of International Cooperation.

“Việt Nam's enterprises must have qualified human resources and business plans meeting green and sustainability standards of foreign investors, including Japanese investors.”

"In addition, Việt Nam will continue to call on Japanese enterprises to pool investment into farming value chains such as rice, fruit, vegetable and seafood value chains."

Besides that, Việt Nam needs to attract capital from Japan's official development assistance (ODA) to upgrade the quality management system, animal and plant quarantine system, and food safety control system, thereby meeting international standards as well as Japanese standards.

The two countries have recently promoted cooperation in developing Việt Nam's agriculture. Japan has provided ODA to Việt Nam in the agricultural sector for over US$1 billion in total.

At present, MARD coordinates with the Ministry of Planning and Investment to review criteria for attracting investors meeting green standards, and having technology exchange and connection to farmers and local businesses, Tuấn said.

"The foreign investors who meet that criteria will enjoy more incentives than regular investors," he said.

MARD will continue to strengthen dialogue with foreign investors, of course including Japanese enterprises, through an office specialising in sustainable development and modern agriculture, according to Tuấn.

“We will also develop handbooks to guide the investors in each specific field of the agricultural sector and have orientation for investors in terms of green investment and close connection with Vietnamese farmers.”

According to Tuấn, Japanese investment in Việt Nam's agricultural sector now is not commensurate with the potential of the relationship between the two countries. Japan's investment in hi-tech agriculture in Việt Nam is still small scale and the investors are also small and medium-sized enterprises.

They have most invested in developing areas of vegetable and flower or tea with an investment of only about $1-2 million for each project.

"Japan's total investment capital in Việt Nam's agricultural industry is only about $250 million,” Tuấn said. "Of which, Japanese investors have often focused on high-tech agriculture in terms of gene, seed, preservation technology, and deep processing technology."

For instance, Fujitsu has a joint venture with FPT to provide digital technology platforms such as smart agriculture and precision agriculture, and a number of Japanese livestock enterprises have also invested in Việt Nam.

Vinamilk and Sojitz Japan have started work on a breeding and beef processing complex called Vinabeef in Tam Đảo, Vĩnh Phúc Province. The project, with total investment of VNĐ3 trillion ($131 million), is a joint project by Vilico - a member of Vinamilk - and Japan's Sojitz Corporation.

This is one of the projects in the investment and collaboration plan between the leading corporations of Việt Nam and Japan in high-tech agriculture, cattle breeding, and beef processing, with a total value of up to $500 million in cooperative agreements signed between the Government of the two countries in 2021.

Tuấn said: “Cooperation between Japan and Việt Nam in the agricultural sector will reap successes if Vietnamese businesses meet the standards and conditions of Japanese partners.”

Nguyễn Anh Tuấn, Chief Financial Officer of PAN Group, said the group has had many years of cooperation with Japanese partners in many fields like plant varieties, high-quality rice, processed seafood, and fresh fruits and flowers for export.

The group continues to maintain its strategy of cooperation with Japan in developing high-tech agriculture in the future, he said.

To achieve success in investment cooperation in high-tech agriculture with Japan, according to the representative of Pan Group, Vietnamese businesses need to prepare financial resources, because the development of high-tech agriculture is not cheap, especially with partners and technology from Japan.

"Cooperating with a Japanese partner in rice production, the group has invested VNĐ100 billion to develop Japanese rice production lines, double the investment in using production lines with the same capacity from Chinese or Vietnamese partners," he said.

“The enterprises need to have a team of qualified and experienced technical staff or recruit new staff meeting the requirements. Because with this human resource, transfer and application of technologies can be well done, thereby mastering the technologies and developing large-scale production in the future.”

"Vietnamese enterprises need patience in the process of cooperation with Japanese partners. Differences in climate, soil, water and environmental conditions require them to test many times to get desired results," he said.

Director of International Cooperation Department Tuấn said: "The Japanese investors have great potential in terms of technology, so when cooperating with Japan in agricultural development, Việt Nam can take Japanese technologies, especially high technology and green technology."

“Japanese firms also have brand, market and capital, so to take those advantages during cooperation, Vietnamese enterprises must pay attention to Japan's very strict standards for products, qualification of human resources, and management ability," Tuấn said.

Therefore, Vietnamese businesses must prepare all resources to meet the requirements of Japanese partners, especially raw material areas and qualified human resources, he added. — VNS