Duong Hoa Xo, deputy director of the city’s Agriculture and Rural Development Department, said the city was applying bio-technology as well as other advanced technologies to restructure its agricultural sector, with the aim of achieving higher productivity and sustainable development.
“The city has identified high-tech agriculture as a major industry and is striving to become a centre for the development and supply of crop and animal strains in the southern region,” he told Việt Nam News.
In recent years, ineffective rice cultivation was reduced, while other plants and animals with higher economic efficiency were cultivated and bred, he added.
Xo spoke at a conference attended by more than 100 delegates from State agencies and overseas businesses titled “Overseas Vietnamese propose ideas to boost high-tech agricultural development in HCM City”.
Organised by the city’s Overseas Vietnamese Committee and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the meeting called for more investment in high-tech agriculture in the city.
HCM City has a total of 740 enterprises, 73 cooperatives and 229 cooperative groups operating in agriculture, according to Xo.
Some enterprises and cooperatives have begun producing seeds to form closed production chains and have been building safe agricultural brands to meet rising demand.
“Because high-tech agricultural investment requires a large amount of capital, enterprises play a leading role, not just farmers,” he said.
Tony Lam, an overseas Vietnamese in the US, who is chairman and CEO of the US Farms Agriculture and High-tech Technologies Ltd Company, noted that the city faced a few obstacles, such as the expense of imported machines manufactured after 2011, which cost up to VND10 billion (US$440,170) each.
An agricultural crew needs about 10 such machines, he said, adding that the Government should have policies to help investors.
Lam said he was developing a herbal-park project specialising in medicinal mushrooms on an area of 5-10ha. However, the project needs support from the Government and other partners, he added.
“In Vietnam, some farmers can earn up to VND15 billion ($660,000) profit per year thanks to high technology used in planting and husbandry. However, this development is not sustainable as the output is not stable,” he said.
Nguyen Quoc Binh, an overseas Vietnamese living in Canada, and former deputy director of the HCM City Biotechnology Centre, said the city should issue policies to develop high-value agricultural products, especially vegetables, fruits, flowers and ornamental fish.
High-quality agricultural production should cater to the city market, and the production process, seeds and traceability of origin should be certified, he said.
Post-harvest processing technology has been overlooked, he said, adding that it was necessary to study processing technologies and post-harvest processing support.
The city should also help enterprises build factories to process vegetables and fruits, he said.
Other overseas Vietnamese delegates at the meeting discussed high-tech agricultural methods in other countries such as Japan, Australia and the Netherlands.
The HCM City Agricultural High-tech Park Management Board is calling for investment in the following:
High-tech Agricultural Park for aquaculture (89.7ha) in Long Hoa Commune, Can Gio District
High-tech Agricultural Park for post-harvesting (23.3ha) in Phuoc Vinh An Commune, Cu Chi District.
Expansion of High-tech Horticultural and Agriculture Park (200ha) in Pham Van Coi Commune, Cu Chi District
High-tech Agricultural Park for breeding (170.4ha) in Pham Van Hai Commune, Binh Chanh District.