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Vietnamese farmers on board the ‘digital agriculture train’

In the digital era, next-generation farmers can fertilize and water their fields in Binh Phuoc from afar, even in a different country.
Hoang can water his avocado trees when he is in the US with just a touch on his smartphone

Born into a farmer family, Dang Duong Minh Hoang in Bu Gia Map district of Binh Phuoc understands how hard farmers have to work. After returning to his hometown from France, he decided to become a ‘digital farmer’, starting with the native avocado tree.  

With organic farming, Hoang needs to keep a close watch over the development of trees. That is why he joined forces with co-workers to develop AutoAgri, an app that helps monitor the crops via smart devices.

Hoang’s 12-hectare avocado field is cared for automatically. Hoang can water his avocado trees when he is in the US with just a touch on his smartphone. He has hired two workers who are in charge of examining the machine system in the field in Binh Phuoc. 

Pointing to the QR code stuck to an avocado tree, Hoang said the code allows people to log in to watch the digital diary that allows users to know the kind of fertilizer used, the time of fertilizing, the time avocados are harvested, the means of transport used to carry products to supermarkets, and avocado quality. 

“In the last two years, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the 'avocado from Mr Hoang' still sold well at high prices,” Hoang said, adding that he made a profit of VND8 billion a year.

The next-generation farmer owns Thien Nong Farm with a total area of 50 hectares, including 30 hectares of rubber, eight hectares of pepper and 12 hectares of avocado. He uses drones and other digital technologies to run the farm.

In Thanh Phu district in Ben Tre province, Dang Van Bay, after 20 years of farming shrimp with traditional methods, has shifted to hatching shrimp with a closed hi-tech chain.

In 2020, he decided to digitize shrimp ponds with a total area of 36 hectares.

At his shrimp ponds, machines automatically feed shrimp and treat water. Bay and his workers can watch the process through apps on their smartphones. 

“The examination of shrimp size is done with the support of high technology. I just have to put shrimp into a basin of water, use the app to take a picture of the shrimp and get information about the weight of shrimp. The shrimp size standardization is necessary for trading,” he said.

In 2022, though shrimp hatchery costs increased, Bay still made a profit of VND17 billion. He had earned VND25 billion in the year before.

The ‘digital transformation train’

In mid-2021, at a conference on digital transformation in the agriculture sector, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan said: “The world is constantly moving, and we missed a lot of trains. Nowadays, we are at the platform again and about to take a new train, the ‘digital transformation train’ ”.

More and more vegetable, shrimp and fowl farming models are used to raise vegetables and animals with digital data. And through their smartphones, farmers can sell produce all over the globe.

In June 2022, an information system and database about husbandry operations was put into operation. It is the ‘first brick’ of the foundation for digital transformation in the agriculture sector.

After that, an information system and database on granting and management of code growing areas was put into use. 

The system plays an important role in ensuring a updated database about growing areas, including data on time of sowing, harvesting, output, quality, traceability, market demand, and prices. As such, manual management has been replaced with digital technology-based management.

Vietnam has great advantages in agricultural production with farm export turnover hitting a record high of $55 billion in 2022. However, with 9 million farming households, agriculture remains fragmented, small and disorganized.

Hoan said digital transformation would help make all information transparent and gradually eliminate the "black holes" in agriculture.

Tam An


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