Vietnam Time

9/26/2017 1:57:21 PM

Vietnam and the need for developing “Agriculture 4.0”

Agriculture is a foundation, a development axis, and a strong pillar of the economy. Over the years, the sector has recorded continuous growth with important achievements, contributing to nationwide economic stability, reducing poverty and improving the standard of living for rural residents.

Illustrative image (Photo: VNA) 

With enormous progress, Vietnam has emerged as one of the world’s leading exporters of agricultural commodities and is among the top five in aquatic products, rice, coffee, tea, cashews, black pepper, rubber and cassava. But it is facing major demographic, economic and environmental challenges that require changes in order to generate more economic value whilst using fewer natural, human and other resources, as well as the need to restructure the patterns of production and the organisation of the supply chain.

Agricultural growth has mostly relied on increasing cultivation areas and a more intensive use of inputs, such as fertilisers and natural resources, such as water. The sector is experiencing a low quality of growth, as shown by low profits for farmers, underemployment among agricultural workers, unreliable product quality, alongside poor food safety and limited technological innovation.

Science and technology have been flagged as an effective solution for agricultural development, but the most urgent task that should be carried out in the near future is establishing an effective roadmap for the sector’s development in order to help the sector promote its important role as a strong pillar in the economy.

In order to promote the economic strength of agriculture, it is necessary to have specific directions, mechanisms and policies to attract the relevant economic sectors and scientific enterprises to invest in technological innovation and high-tech applications for agricultural production.

Developing high-tech agriculture is an important task and also the inevitable trend of Vietnam’s socioeconomic development strategies in the context of deeper international integration.

Together with the foundation of rapid development and the high-level integration of scientific achievements and modern technologies in the sectors of digitalisation, bio-technology and physics, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is expected to remarkably change the status of manufacturing in the world and Vietnam in the near future.

This model will help enterprises increase their productivity, flexibility and efficiency, in addition to shortening production time in making products available in the market, resulting in the improvement of an enterprise’s competitiveness.

Recently, the ministry of Planning and Investment has linked up with localities to apply high technology in agriculture. At the same time, localities are getting more aware of the need to using high technology in agriculture to increase value addition.

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A rice field in Nghe An province, with increased productivity, thanks to the application of technology (source: nongnghiep.vn)

For instance, many provinces and cities such as Binh Thuan, Can Tho and HCM City have co-operated with the ministry to study their unique farm produce and develop investment promotion programmes to seek funding for those items. The provinces and cities have preferential policies to attract agricultural enterprises with capability and technology.

The revolution could create both opportunities and challenges for Vietnam. If Vietnam doesn’t catch up with the world and the region in terms of development, it would face challenges and the effects of backward technologies, decreasing production, abundant skilled labour and copyright violation.

Hi-tech farming is considered as one of the driving factors for sustainable agricultural development in line with the government’s policy. Since the beginning of 2017, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has signed a resolution on providing a credit package worth VND100 trillion (US$4.4 billion) to invest in the development of high-tech agriculture at lower than market rates. The resolution aims to encourage, support and promote the development of hi-tech farming applications.

Following the Prime Minister’s instruction on supporting high-tech agriculture development late last year, the SBV has instructed banks to apply preferential loans to high-tech and clean agricultural projects. Interest rates of the loans will be 0.5-1.5% per year lower than other average lending rates. Meanwhile, the lending interest rate for short-term loans averages at 6-9% per year and 9-11% for medium and long-term loans.

According to Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong, the Prime Minister’s policies will benefit agricultural development, especially the widespread application of technology in agriculture, as it will create favourable conditions with respect to land and preferential credit for eligible enterprises and encourage them to invest in technology.

To implement the Government’s policy on developing high-tech agriculture, the ministry will collaborate with the Ministries of Finance and Science and Technology to efficiently implement programmes and projects under a plan for the development of high-tech agriculture by 2020 under the Government’s Decision 176/QĐ-TTg, he added.

Local authorities should create favourable conditions to encourage the application of advanced technologies and machinery in agricultural production in order to reduce costs and improve the productivity, quality, and competitiveness of agricultural products, the deputy minister said./

  ( VNF/NDO )
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