|HCM City has the potential to become a hub for research into new crop strains and seed production. — Photo nld.com.vn
HCM CITY — HCM City should focus on becoming a regional hub for research into crops and supplying high-quality seeds to nearby provinces, experts have said.
Speaking at a conference in HCM City last week, Trần Xuân Định, permanent vice chairman of the Việt Nam Seed Trade Association, said crop innovation played a big part in improving output and quality of key agricultural produce like rice, corn, rubber, and coffee, but the research segment struggled to produce new vegetable and flower strains.
“Việt Nam has to import 90 per cent of these seeds every year even though mountainous areas in the northern region and Lâm Đồng Province is capable of producing seeds of near-temperate climate vegetables.”
This is because research efforts have mostly been focused on traditional cereals and not on fruits, vegetables or flowers, he said.
A HCM City seed supplier explained that research into new vegetable and flower strains is costly and also risky since they have low added value and could cause a loss, and so many seed suppliers prefer imports.
According to Hà Thị Loan, deputy director of the Biotechnology Centre in HCM City, sViệt Nam grows around 15 types of honeydew but could produce seeds for very few of them.
The centre has been producing high-quality honeydew seeds around the southern provinces.
It also successfully researched into seeds for certain flowers, vegetables and medicinal herbs, and is looking to work with businesses and co-operatives to distribute them.
Nguyễn Minh Nhân, director of agricultural produce supplier Vuông Tròn Trading Co., Ltd., told Người Lao Động newspaper that recently he had been able to buy high-quality honeydew seeds locally as opposed to the more expensive imports previously.
According to Dương Hoa Xô, deputy chairman of the HCM City Union of Science and Technology, the city is a science and technology hub and so has favourable conditions to research into crop and animal strains.
It should focus on strengths such as vegetables, flowers and medical herbs and train people in seed research, he said.
“HCM City can consider setting up a 100-200ha hi-tech crop seed production zone in Củ Chi District and inviting seed manufacturers to invest there with simple administrative procedures and favourable policies.”
Some 25 businesses in the city sell seeds.
The conference was held as part of an exhibition of agricultural technologies and high-quality crop strains and animal breeds. — VNS