The Ho Chi Minh City Farmers Association and Investment and Trade Promotion Centre met on Tuesday to seek ways to apply high-tech to the city’s key agricultural products, with the aim of becoming a southern hub for the supply of crop and animal strains.
This year’s key agricultural products are vegetables, flowers, ornamental trees, pigs, dairy cows, brackish-water shrimp and ornamental fish.
Nguyen Van Tui of the Farmers Association said that only about 800ha out of more than 3,300ha of the city’s agricultural land uses hi-tech methods that meet Vietnamese good agricultural practice (VietGAP) standards. The small scale of farms and lack of funds have been barriers to application.
Many farmers in the city produce agricultural products on less than 1ha of land on plots scattered around the city. Tui said the city should arrange for large-scale farms.
Another barrier to high-tech use includes initial investment costs and the time needed for farmers to break even. Investment of 500 million dong (about $22,000) per hectare is needed for vegetables and flowers. And it takes five to 10 years to break even, according to Tui.
“The city should focus on research and bio-technology to increase productivity and improve the quality of crop seeds and animal breeds,” he said.
The city also should encourage farming households to become members of cooperatives to ensure that production will follow clear planning and have high quality and productivity.
“The city must also provide farmers with better information and predict harvest volumes, as well as supply and demand for each key agricultural crop,” he said.
The agricultural sector this year aims to maintain six per cent growth, while average production value per hectare of agricultural land is expected to rise to 550 million dong from 502 million dong last year. VIET NAM NEWS/ANN