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Tech boost for Vietnam agriculture

The development of agriculture and the rural economy is one of the focal points of the country’s socio-economic development strategy. The industrialisation and modernisation of agriculture and rural areas play an important role in the government’s short and long-term agendas for digital transformation,

According to a news report, with a low starting point and more than 70% of the population living in rural and mountainous areas, modernising the sector depends greatly on the effective application of scientific and technological developments. Also, understanding the potential of each region in order to restructure and promote the development of agriculture in the direction of commodity production, controlling the domestic market, and reaching out to regional and international markets.

The agricultural undertakings and policies of the state all aim to affirm that the transfer of scientific and technological applications promote agrarian production and rural economy. In 2015, the Prime Minister signed Decision No.1747/QD-TTg approving a programme to support the application and transfer of scientific and technological progress to promote socio-economic development in rural, mountainous and ethnic minority areas for the 2016-2025 period.

After five years of implementation, 400 projects were approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology and have been implemented in 61 provinces and cities with a total investment of more than VND3.06 trillion (US$132 million).

As per a report of the Programme Office, after five years of implementation, the projects have brought about positive initial results in terms of science and technology. The programme is expected to transfer 2,126 turns of technologies and train 3,520 grassroots technicians and more than 1,800 local scientific and technological managers. It has identified suitable technologies for each region and locality, thereby building effective production models.

However, during the implementation process, there are still many problems, such as a low budget for supporting projects, an ineffective mechanism of maintaining and replicating the project model, and several unfeasible regulations for management.

Therefore, to promote and improve the obtained results, the Ministry of Science and Technology needs to manage and handle issues arising from approved projects and review and define objectives and contents for the 2021-2025 period. Further, it must prioritise the transfer of technologies for planting salt-tolerant plants to address the problem of salinity.

The Vietnamese agriculture sector aims to be among the 15 most developed countries in the world, in which the agricultural processing sector ranks among the top ten countries by 2030.

To realise the goal, the government issued a resolution in 2019 on measures to encourage businesses to invest in effective, safe, and sustainable agriculture as part of efforts to help the sector integrate globally. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) recently submitted to the government a project of export promotion of agro-fishery products by 2030.

The export turnover is expected to reach US$50-51 billion by 2025 and US$60-62 billion in 2030. To implement the target, the MARD will review and propose policies for investment attraction from private and foreign investors into the agro-fishery product processing industry.

For the last five years, there has been a wave of investment into agricultural production with 52,000 businesses, of which the firms directly participating in production hit 13,300, triple the figure of 2015.

The Chairman of the Vietnam Agriculture Businesses’ Association recently said the thing most businesses needed was a legal framework for high-tech farming development. There was a need for incentive policies such as simplifying loan procedures and completing criteria of high-tech agricultural enterprises to easily access bank loans. Also, policies on land accumulation and granting land-use rights certificates, houses, and properties attached with land ownership must be improved.

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