Vietnam: Lam Dong farmers go high tech

The Central Highlands Province of Lam Dong is leading the country in high-tech agriculture. It grows crops on nearly 50,000ha under hi-tech agricultural methods. This amounts to 18 per cent of the province’s land under production.

According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the high-quality vegetable production model yields VND400 million to VND500 million (US$17,400-21,700) per hectare each year. Flower production reaps up to VND1.2 billion ($52,200) per hectare each year, while tea and coffee yield VND250 million ($10,870) per hectare annually.

The record productivity is helped by high technology aqua culture and brings in VND8 billion to VND9 billion ($347,800-$391,300) per hectare a year.

The modern farming has set an example for other localities. However, the high-tech scene, especially small-scale models, faces several handicaps.

Nguyen Xuan Hoi is the owner of a 3,000 sqm technology-based farm which cultivates flowers, mini cucumbers and chili in Da Lat City. Being aware that planting clean vegetables is the best way to protect the health of consumers, for years, he nurtured the desire to farm without using chemicals. However, it was not until a year ago that he obtained the financial resources to realise his dream.

He invested more than VND1 billion ($43,500) on greenhouses, auto irrigation systems and imported chemical-free fertilisers, which he called “hi-tech agriculture”.

“The biggest difficulty when I started was raising VND1 billion in capital. I had to borrow from a bank and apply for a mortgage. The bank preferential interest rate is low at only 1.1 per cent,” he said.

Having more than 3,000 sqm of land, Tran Van Phuoc, a farmer in Da Nghich Village, Lat Commune, Lac Duong District, decided to invest in a greenhouse. However, he could not borrow the VND560 million ($24,400) needed, as the loan limit was only VND70 million without a mortgage.

The investment capital for hi-tech agriculture projects is enormous. In fact, in Lam Dong Province, greenhouse investment is worth VND1.3 to VND3 billion ($56,500-130,400) per hectare. However, most of the products do not have stable markets, so investment efficiency remains limited, according to Tran.

Read more at VietNamNet

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