Time for Vietnam’s agriculture go hi-tech hinh anh 1A visitor study hi-tech plantation showcased at Growtech Expo 2017. (Photo: VNS)

Hanoi (VNA) - It’s time for the Vietnamese agro-forestry-fishery industry to promote the application of modern agricultural equipment and technologies to build a sustainable industry.

After more than 30 years of Doi moi (Renewal Process), the Vietnamese agriculture sector has seen significant growth, said Pham Duc Nghiem, deputy head of the National Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialisation Development under the Ministry of Science and Technology.

“However, it’s time for the agro-forestry-fishery industry to shift towards enhancing added value, developing sustainably and applying new technologies to boost productivity, quality and competitiveness,” Nghiem said at the opening ceremony of the Vietnam International Exhibition on Machineries & Technologies of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (Growtech 2017) in Hanoi on November 30.

Growtech 2017, the first event of its kind in Vietnam, was co-organised by the ministries of Science and Technology, Industry and Trade, and Agriculture and Rural Development.

Growtech 2017 attracted more than 100 companies from countries with developed agriculture sectors, such as Israel, the UK, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Italia, India and New Zealand, to showcase their latest equipment and technologies.

The three-day expo created opportunities for firms and farmers to observe new manufacturing technology and equipment in the agro-forestry-fishery industry all over the world. Vietnamese farmers can apply the technologies as they seek to build a sustainable industry that brings strong profits to Vietnam.

Statistics showed that more than 57 percent of the labour force working in the agriculture but creating only 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

This shows that the agriculture industry of Vietnam is still fragile and vulnerable in the era of rapid international integration, besides facing the impacts of climate change, according to the expo’s organising board.

Experts said applying modern equipment and technologies was critical.

For example, the forestry industry of Vietnam faces a number of challenges, such as low productivity, low forest quality, low competitiveness of forestry products and low income, according to the State Steering Committee on Forest Sustainable Development.

A representative from the steering committee said at the conference that applying high technologies would contribute to tackling these problems and promoting forestry protection and expansion.

Experts said the case of Israel illustrated that technological innovation could also help the agriculture industry overcome natural challenges.

During the expo, a number of agro technologies and pieces of equipment were introduced, such as hydroponics, urban farming, irrigation solutions, greenhouses, rice planting machines and a sowing robot that received significant attention.

Today, two more conferences will be held as part of Growtech 2017. The conferences will discuss the commercialisation of technology in the agriculture sector of Vietnam and strategies to develop the processing and preservation of agriculture products.

In addition, ideas and solutions for smart agriculture will receive funding of 75,000 USD at the expo, provided by the Vietnam Climate Innovation Centre.

Statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development showed that the agro, fishery and forestry export turnover reached 33.14 billion USD during January-November, representing a rise of 13.8 percent over the same period last year.

The 11-month period export value exceeded 2016 full-year revenue of 32.1 billion USD, setting a new high and on track to reach 35 billion USD - 36 billion USD this year.-VNA