Sai Gon Kim Hong's drone, worth VND450-530 million each, can help farmers avoid much farming work but still unaffordable to most farmers. — Photo courtesy of the firm

Nguyen Van Ba, director of An Phu Thuan Organic Agriculture Cooperative in southern Dong Thap Province, said: "The biggest problem is that farmers have to spend money on technologies which are all new and difficult to access."

A distributor of agricultural drones for spraying pesticides, Dao Thi Nhu He, director of Sai Gon Kim Hong Company, said: "Digital transformation will be a challenge for the agricultural industry in the coming time." 

He has spent three years piloting Kim Hong's drone, which is worth VND450-530 million each. However, she believes the price makes it difficult for farmers to access the technology without support. 

She shared that the State has a policy to support 50 per cent of the first crop and no support for the next crop.

She proposed the authorities implement support measures so that farmers could have conditions to access advanced technologies.

Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuc, chairman of Bagico Investment Joint Stock Company, said the digital transformation in China was strongly invested in, unlike in Vietnam.

She said many firms and agencies do not fully understand the importance of providing sellers' information on digital platforms to make transactions transparent, adding they have not yet taken measures to immediately apply digital conversion for growing area codes and export factory codes when they export to China.

Tu Minh Thien, rector of Van Hien University and former deputy manager of HCM City High-tech Agriculture Management Board, said that Vietnam's potential for high-tech applications in agriculture was huge. Still, so far, limited number of applications are used in increasing crop and livestock productivity, improving the safety and traceability of agricultural products.

Thien said applications for supply chain management and access to financial services, risk management, land management, improvement of the system of supporting small-scale farmers were almost impossible to implement.

Thien said the smart agriculture development orientation was visible in all parts of the world, adding: "Accessing technology is not difficult. It is important to apply technology effectively."

Director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Department of Processing and Market Development Nguyen Quoc Toan said in the continuous and positive growth of the agricultural sector, export turnover was likely to reach $52-54 billion. 

"However, we also face the trend of changing consumption habits and strong regional competition. Therefore without the right tools, it is very difficult to develop."

Toan mentioned the lack of product ecosystems, information, market evaluation database, and connection as challenges.

The ministry is directing its farming and livestock departments to build databases for their planting and farming, as if they have no identifiable products and were not traceable. It will be nearly impossible to bring goods to cyberspace.

Toan added: "Statistics show that currently, only about 500 Vietnamese businesses are doing business on the Alibaba platform. Next year, we strive to have about 1,000 businesses. However, what is more important is the skill of putting goods online for the agriculture cooperatives."

Toan noted a problem as the abundance of software available, as it leads to confusion.  

He hopes the Vietnam Digital Agriculture Association will connect with more local departments of agriculture, to support farmers. 

Source: Vietnam News