Digital transformation drives green and sustainable agriculture development in Viet Nam

August 17, 2023
Photo: Gia Khiem

Ha Noi, 17 August 2023 - The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) co-hosted the "Digital Transformation towards Green Agriculture and Sustainable Development" conference. Organized within the framework of the "Accelerating Private Sector Engagement in Climate Resilient and Low Emission Investment Opportunities in Viet Nam's NDC" project, the event aimed to advance digital innovations in agriculture and rural development in accordance with Viet Nam’s NDC commitments in Agriculture.

At the conference, for the first time, UNDP and MARD introduced an innovative e-traceability system to track the origin and carbon footprints of each dragon fruit produced in Binh Thuan. With this, local and international consumers who buy or import dragon fruits from this key production region of Binh Thuan, Viet Nam, can now transparently scan the QR code to trace the fruit origins and the levels of “green” or environment-friendly practices applied to produce the fruit. In the context of green transition in agriculture, this is an important tool for local producers and businesses in Viet Nam to track and manage the GHG emission level of the supply chain and avoid unnecessary restrictions to export to the high-end markets, where carbon border adjustment mechanism is on the rise.

More than 100 representatives from MARD, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Trade, Departments for Agriculture Developments and Agricultural Extension Centers of Hai Phong, Hai Duong, Vinh Phuc, Ha Nam, Ninh Binh, Nam Dinh, Binh Thuan, Bac Lieu and Ho Chi Minh city, private sector including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Agriterra Viet Nam, 2NF Software Co., Ltd., Sao Vega Technology Company, and international organizations such as UNDP, FAO, UNIDO, Embassy of Canada, Asian Development Bank, IFC, IDH, Oxfam in Viet Nam, and International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), GIZ, SNV attended the conference.

The primary topics of the conference included the strategic roadmap for digital transformation in agriculture and rural development, harnessing digital platforms to monitor and trace carbon footprints within crucial export sectors, fostering eco-conscious low-carbon emission supply chains for produce such as dragon fruit and shrimp, implementing digital systems to enhance rice production management, establishing robust data architecture for the agricultural and rural landscape, and forging synergies between local and central entities in the digital revolution to champion green and sustainable agricultural practices. Several smart agricultural models embracing digital transformation aligned with sustainable agriculture and rural development strategies were spotlighted.

Participants engaged in fruitful discussions regarding the cooperation between government and international organizations to develop data for green and sustainable development in Viet Nam's agriculture, the need to create digital solutions following standards to serve production, processing, and consumption along the chain, and to promote sustainable production areas toward strategic export markets, as well as the formation of a working group in digital transformation for agriculture.

In Viet Nam, digital infrastructure in rural areas still needs to be improved. The scale of digital conversion applications still needs to be expanded and synchronized between regions, regions, and localities. The farmers' awareness and skills in using smart devices are limited, and the small cultivation area and agricultural enterprises have yet to invest significantly in digital transformation. Therefore, the digital transformation of agriculture and rural development necessitates the participation of state management agencies at the central and local levels and businesses.

Mr. Hoang Trung, Deputy Minister of MARD emphasized that "digital transformation is an objective requirement, the responsibility, obligation, and interest of the entire system, industry, enterprises, technology, and farmers in particular. It is a crucial instrument for producing high-quality agricultural products at the lowest cost and most significant profit." He also added that the ministry had established the Center for Digital Transformation and Agricultural Statistics - a unit in charge of information technology, digital transformation, and information security of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development function of advising and assisting the Minister in unifying the implementation of information technology application, digital transformation, e-Government building and development within the Ministry and the Agriculture and Rural Development sector.

“We are proud to collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in spearheading some innovative solutions to support the green and sustainable transformation in agriculture. We are happy that the digitalized carbon traceability systems have been established for two major export commodities in Viet Nam, dragon fruits and shrimp. The tool is essential to local government, businesses, producers and consumers to operate in a green economy, where “green” identities and “green” standards are required as new normal. By harnessing technology to drive climate-smart practices of businesses and enhance the resilient livelihoods of local farmers, we are collectively paving the way for a greener, more prosperous future for Viet Nam's agriculture," said Mr. Patrick Haverman, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Viet Nam.

The project "Accelerating private sector engagement in climate resilient and low emission investment opportunities in Viet Nam's NDC" (NDC Agriculture) is jointly implemented by MARD and UNDP in cooperation with Binh Thuan and Bac Lieu Province from 2019-2023. With financial support from the Governments of Germany, Spain, and the European Union, the project aims to actively encourage private sector engagement to finance, support, and implement technically sound, financially viable, risk-informed mitigation and adaptation action to support Viet Nam's NDC targets for Agriculture.

For more information, please kindly contact:
Phan Huong Giang
UNDP Media and Communications Analyst, Climate Change and Environment
Mob: 0948466688

Bui Viet Hien
UNDP Programme Analyst on Climate Change