Speaking at a conference held yesterday in HCM City on the challenges and opportunities for the agricultural sector, Thien said: “This is a duty of the Government: to issue policies to attract investment from private enterprises to these zones.”

The zones would play an important role in providing training in high technology applications in cultivation, breeding and management to small- and mid-sized farms. Such training would help farmers meet food safety standards required by TPP member countries.

In cultivation, for example, biotechnologies would be used to produce products such as marine algae or fungi that can be used in agriculture or the environment.

Only 1 per cent of Viet Nam’s agricultural production facilities have applied high technologies and IT. The rest continue to use traditional technologies.

Nestor Scherbey, senior advisor to the Viet Nam Trade Facilitation Alliance, said that hi-tech applications would help develop new agricultural products, which would play a critical role in raising value.

Thien said that ICT applications would improve market access, value and links to supply chains, as well as product safety. They also would be useful in identifying origin of agricultural products.

“Only with IT applications can you link to global supply chains,” he added.

Small- and medium-size farms that will find it difficult to compete in the TPP era should work with others in a new co-operative model similar to Japanese models, he said.

As for supply chains, the Government and enterprises should co-operate to identify which phase will help maximise the agricultural value.

“Opportunities for the agricultural sector in the time of TPP should be taken advantage of to bring benefits to farmers and enterprises,” Thien said.

According to Scherbey, a prospective agricultural product exporter should carry out specialised export market research of foreign markets to determine the best market potential for the exporter’s goods.

The most important challenge facing an agricultural exporter is to research, understand and clearly identify foreign market’s standards and procedures, he said.

The next most important challenge is to identify which measures are needed to comply with the foreign market standards related to the exporter’s goods, Scherbey said.

Expo in HCM City

The fourth High-Tech Agro exhibition for high-tech agriculture and food processing which opened on Wednesday in HCM City is displaying the latest equipment and technology used in agricultural production

More than 145 enterprises from 30 provinces are taking part in the exhibition.

The five-day exhibition, organised by the HCM City Investment and Trade promotion Centre (ITPC), Agriculture and Rural Development Department, and Sai Gon High-Tech Park, displays bio-tech products, seeds, bonsai, fresh and processed agricultural and food products, equipment, fertilizers and new high-tech agricultural models for husbandry and plantations.

“This is a chance for HCM City and other provinces to learn about technologies in these fields,” Pham Thiet Hoa, ITPC director, said.

“The exhibition also connects enterprises with science and technology institutes, promotes links between production to delivery to create market for organic agricultural products, and improves competitive ability of Vietnamese agricultural products in both local and export markets,” he added.

The HCM City Department of Agriculture and Rural Development introduced 16 enterprises which have products using the VietGAP organic standards, high-tech applications and food safety.

The Sai Gon High-Tech Park has seven kiosks at the exhibition with high-tech products.

Models and products showing the achievements made in HCM City’s high-tech agriculture industry are also exhibited.

More than 100 bonsai of different sizes and many kinds of fish and agricultural products from HCM City and other provinces from every region in the country are on display.

The exhibition is part of the conference on “TPP and the agriculture industry: applying high-tech agriculture to overcome barriers”, which will provide solutions for exporters on how to deal with technical barriers from markets like the EU, Japan and the US.

(Source: VNS)