​Using a combine harvester to harvest rice (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – A programme to boost the mechanisation of agriculture is being carried out in Ho Chi Minh City to foster local agricultural development in a modern, effective and sustainable manner.

The programme needs total capital of more than 538 billion VND (23.56 million USD), about 321.7 billion VND (or 60 percent) of which will be financed by the budget while the remaining 216.3 billion VND (40 percent) is set to be funded by local farmers and businesses, according to the municipal People’s Committee.

The city will need some 263 billion VND (11.5 million USD) by 2020 for conducting mechanisation studies and enhancing the use of machines in various types of farming.

From 2021 to 2025, 275 billion VND (12 million USD) is expected be spent on creating agricultural mechanisation models, supporting the construction of agricultural product processing and preserving facilities, and transferring technology and equipment imported from other countries.

Vice Permanent Chairman of the HCM City People’s Committee Le Thanh Liem said aside from applying high technologies, the increase of agricultural mechanisation will create products with consistent quality and appearance to meet export standards.

The southern economic hub hopes its agricultural production value will reach 800 million VND (35,000 USD) per hectare each year by 2020, roughly three times higher than the figure between 2011 and 2015. The production value is expected to grow by more than 8 percent annually in 2016-2020 compared to 2011-2015.

Liem said that mechanisation will also address a labour shortage in agriculture, improve farmers’ income, and help protect the environment and people’s health.

The municipal People’s Committee said a large number of technical advances were applied in crop and livestock farming and aquaculture from 2011 to 2016.

HCM City had 91 communes and wards that farmed vegetables last year with 14,670 hectares of vegetables cultivated. About 51 percent of the vegetable area was equipped with automatic or semi-automatic irrigation systems, up 24 percent from 2010, and 40.6 percent of the ornamental plant area was watered by machine.

In animal husbandry, mechanisation is being strengthened in all steps, the municipal administration reported, including automatic feeding machines, farm temperature controllers, milking machines, and biogas technology in waste treatment.

From 2011 through 2016, 3,329 plans asking for loans to invest in machinery and equipment for agricultural production were approved, authorities added. -VNA