Weather-proof Farming Practices That Help Boost Supply Consistency
Vietnam is a long, thin country stretching north-south, with a climate that varies considerably between its regions. Mountainous regions and mountain plateaus account for about three-quarters of the total land area, while farming is practiced extensively on the available arable land. The most common farm crops are rice, sugar cane, cassava (the main ingredient of tapioca) and coffee (Vietnam is second only to Brazil in terms of coffee production). Key Vietnamese seafood exports include prawns and squid, with Japan being one of the country's main export markets.*
Vietnam is currently grappling with the challenge of maintaining consistent supplies of safe, nutritious and visually attractive agricultural produce. The country's distinctive wet and dry seasons can enormously affect production yields, and a "food value chain"** is urgently needed in order to improve the security and productivity of agricultural production. The Viet Nam Office of JICA (the Japan International Cooperation Agency) has suggested that Vietnam could benefit from Japanese ICT-based agricultural applications.
* From the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries website
** The chain of supply and consumption stakeholder, from the farmer right through to the end consumer
Set up ICT Infrastructure and Introduce Japanese-style Farming Practices
Fujitsu has teamed up with Fujitsu Vietnam and Aeon Agri Create, with assistance from the JICA Viet Nam Office, to conduct field trials of dedicated ICT agricultural applications developed in Japan, which are designed to promote food security, productivity and quality. The trials are taking place in Hà Nam province on the outskirts of Hanoi. In another trial that commenced on January 19, 2016, inspectors from the Vietnamese government Women's Union are using smartphone apps to track market prices for agricultural produce.
Fujitsu and Fujitsu Vietnam have set up a test plot of around 1,000 square meters in Hà Nam Province that includes a full ICT infrastructure including a dedicated smartphone app for monitoring crop status and environmental conditions and the maintaining of work logs. Aeon Agri Create provides assistance and advice at the test plot, and runs workshops and presentations in Hà Nam Province on topics such as fertilization techniques and GLOBALG.A.P.* Back in Japan, Aeon Agri Create also remotely monitors data from the test plot and offers ongoing advice and assistance online.
* Good Agricultural Practices is the generic term for agricultural practices considered to be environmentally, economically and socially sustainable. GLOBALG.A.P. is a set of global standards employed widely in Europe and the United States.
Setting up a Food Value Chain in the Primary Production Sector
The distribution system for primary produce in Vietnam is quite complex, involving multiple wholesalers at different stages. For this reason, farmers have little idea of the end prices for their produce in the shops. The proposed food value chain will give farmers ready access to in-store produce prices, which will help them to better plan their planting schedules. The Japanese farming technology will also help to improve the consistency of supplies, while enhancing quality, appearance and nutritional standards.
The field trials are due to conclude in March 2016. Fujitsu and Fujitsu Vietnam will then continue working with JICA Viet Nam Office to develop a food value chain designed to boost productivity, improve food safety and enhance the consistency of food supplies in Vietnam.