Digitalisation to drive agriculture in a sustainable way: Eurocham experts

Digitalization is the engine that would drive the future of agriculture, “Agriculture in Vietnam: Can innovation push Vietnam to the top of the global market?”, a meeting organised by Eurocham in HCM City this week, heard.

Agriculture around the world, and especially in Vietnam, faces many challenges in meeting demand by 2050 — like increasing population, increase in demand for quality food, loss of produce along the food chain, falling yields due to climate change, limited arable lands, weed and pest resistance, dwindling innovation, and depletion of ground water.

“The challenge requires a new approach that helps improve farming for the farmers and for the environment,” Dr Thomas Wegmann, head of product development, APAC region, Singapore, Bayer Crop Science, said.

The event heard that digital farming paves the way for a new agricultural revolution that makes farming quicker, more precise, efficient and sustainable.

According to information released there, most new farm machines are equipped with precision agriculture features.

New tools help farmers optimise inputs such as fertilisers and crop protection agents with corresponding improvements in yields and quality. Digital farming solutions also help meet society’s rising requirements in terms of transparency and sustainability.

To meet the growing demand, many inventions have been rolled out globally to enable farmers to optimise the amount of crop protection.

For instance, a Bayer representative said his company has applied digital solutions in more than 60 countries and is aiming at Vietnam.

He said that these new technologies, which have huge potential not only in developed countries but also for small-holder farmers in developing countries, helps famers tackle challenges and support a sustainable intensification of farming. Thanks to innovation and new technology in seeds, crop protection and services, farmers are enabled to produce food without harming the environment and putting the health of humans or animals at risk, promoting and advancing sustainable agriculture for customers and society

Recently the company launched new digital farming solutions called Field Manager and Scouting App which help farmers produce more efficiently and profitably while reducing the impact farming has on the environment.

Speaking about the Vietnamese market, experts at the event said agriculture and fishery exports topped a record US$36 billion last year.

But Vietnamese agriculture faced plenty of challenges such as limited arable land and natural resources, a shortage and rising costs of labour, increased market volatility, limited credit availability for small farmers, resistance issues and ongoing quest for increasing sustainability.

Vietnam’s agriculture still has enormous potential, but a lot of applied research and development, tailor-made advice and training are needed, according to participants. Then farmers will catch up fast, as Vietnam farmers are hard working and very entrepreneurial.

Participants said many digital farming products have been released and with positive results. They also said there would be closer co-operation between agricultural research companies, farmers and the government.


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