Sustainable Agricultural Development Boosted by Digital Transformation

3:49:21 PM | 12/1/2022

Currently, digital technology has been used to connect agricultural consumption. Especially when social distancing was applied to prevent COVID-19, and agriculture supply chains were disrupted, localities resorted to digital technology to boost advertising, trade promotion, distribution and consumption of agricultural products and help the agricultural sector get through hardships caused by the pandemic.

Vietnamese agriculture is gradually shifting from traditional to modern agriculture

This is just one of many positive results of digital technology. Digital transformation in agriculture has been an inevitable trend and a key to the sustainable agricultural development of Vietnam.

Reduced risks and effective management with active digital transformation

Some large firms such as VinEco, Hoang Anh Gia Lai, Nafood, Dabaco, Vinamilk and TH True milk have applied digital technology to control the production, distribution and consumption of products and are highly appreciated by consumers. Without a doubt, digital transformation enables the agricultural sector to improve productivity, quality and efficiency of agricultural production and consumption. The application of Internet of Things (IoT), big data and biotechnology has helped analyze data of the environment, soil, plants and crop growth stages. Based on provided data, producers will make the right decisions (fertilizing, watering, pesticide killing and harvesting), thus cutting costs, reducing pollution of water and land resources, and protecting biodiversity. In fact, digital application to agricultural production has reduced cost and labor by half, cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% and increased productivity by 30%, thus raising income for farmers. Moreover, digital integration and application to production helps consumers access and track these parameters in real time and assure agricultural product quality. In addition, digital application in agriculture helps strengthen producer-consumer connection and supply-demand connection, and stabilize selling prices to make agricultural production more efficient and sustainable.

Besides helping business management and administration, digital transformation also makes agricultural management and administration more effective. For the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, information technology application and digitization in operation and management helps companies make decisions faster and more accurately thanks to a smooth, timely reporting system, increased management efficiency and operating performance.

Furthermore, scientific research in agriculture and high-tech agriculture is invested more intensively to create favorable conditions for digital transformation in agriculture.

Digital transformation helps Vietnam's agriculture reduce climate risks and damages. Climate change, with temperature increase and extreme weather, has directly affected all agricultural aspects like shrinking cultivated area, diminishing freshwater flows for agricultural production, increasing intensity of storms, sea level rise and disease outbreak, and worsening biodiversity loss. Unavoidable aftermaths are undermining productivity, quality, and even economic loss in agriculture. Applying AI technology and data analytics to risk management will help give early warning (72 hours before a storm reaches), enabling all stakeholders to take timely response measures, mitigate climate risks and make agricultural production more efficient and resilient.

Changing habits and thinking

Active digital application to agricultural management, production and consumption shows that Vietnamese agriculture is gradually shifting from traditional to modern agriculture, and agricultural production is becoming more efficient and sustainable.

However, although there are successfully applied models, scientific, technological and innovative application for digital transformation in agriculture is still relatively new to farmers and businesses as well, so digital application is not universal.

In fact, digital application to agriculture remains weak and digital application to agriculture is still modest. According to a survey by the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance, up to 83.5% of cooperatives consider digital transformation necessary but only 18.9% of them have plans with specific action roadmaps and 68% use at least one of the methods of introducing and selling products online.

To have a successful digital transformation for sustainable development, it is necessary to join and coordinate with relevant central and local agencies, and especially farmers to change thinking and approaches. In particular, it is necessary to raise awareness of localities, businesses and especially farmers about the role and importance of digital applications in agricultural production and business. This is a prerequisite in digital transformation. Only when realizing the role and importance of digital technology in agriculture can localities, businesses and farmers actively learn and apply digital technology to agricultural production and business.

At the same time, it is necessary to upgrade and build a modern and synchronous digital infrastructure at a competitive cost, speed up the construction of an agricultural data system, especially data on land, trees, animals, farming areas, growers, agricultural products and services, and digitalization of the ministry’s administrative documents. Certainly, implementing this solution will create agricultural integration data and foster digital application.

Mr. Nguyen Duc Nhan, Director of Viet Lotus Digital Technology Application Research Institute (Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations), said that central and local authorities need to study and issue practical policies; and actively invest in science and technology for each ecological region and production scale. And, first of all, it is necessary to build a force of farmers who can apply digital transformation to production.

By Quynh Chi, Vietnam Business Forum