Vietnam not ready yet for high-technology agriculture

Only six agricultural enterprises in Vietnam have been recognized as using high technology.

Ngo Tien Dung, secretary general of the association of enterprises using high technology in agriculture, said the biggest problem is the lack of land.

“It is difficult to get land funds large enough for large-scale production,” he said.

However, land for agriculture production is not lacking. Many fields have been left idle as farmers, who have incurred big losses from rice crops, have given up farming. However, enterprises still cannot have large plots of land for production.

Vu Tan Tien, chair of Geleximco, an enterprise in Thai Binh province, said it is nearly impossible for enterprises to negotiate with thousands of households to take over land areas farmers leave uncultivated, which limits the use of land for large-scale production.

vietnam not ready yet for high-technology agriculture hinh 0

An analyst said it was getting more and more difficult to get land allocated from local authorities. Therefore, enterprises have to cooperate with farmers through production organizations such as cooperatives.

The cooperation model has failed in many localities because farmers are not cooperative, said Nguyen Trung Dung, CEO of BK Holdings.

Besides concern about the lack of cooperation, Dung also complained about the difficulties in approaching new technologies, the lack of market surveys and the difficulties in accessing loans for technology transfer.  

These are the biggest problems that not only BK Holdings, but most Vietnamese enterprises, have to face. 

They are not ready yet to make investments and eye the international markets. They lack capacity and expertise to benefit from technological improvements. In most cases, they are incapable of accessing necessary information in the international market.

Will PPP be the solution?

According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh, the big challenge for Vietnam now is the increasingly high demand in the world for sustainable products such as tea, coffee and rice.

Doanh believes that PPP (private public partnership) cooperation could be the solution to existing problems. This means that the state and enterprises should cooperate to develop sustainable agriculture. 

MARD kicked off the PPP program in 2011 and it has shown effects in the production of coffee, tea, vegetables, seafood, pepper and spices. This allows higher yields and income, while helping to save water and reduce carbon emissions.

Under a cooperation project between MARD and Unilever, which kicked off in 2014, for example, 30 tea plants and 19,000 households in Vietnam will receive support in growing tea. The project aims to help improve tea quality and competitiveness and raise black tea export volume to 35,000 tons.


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