Smart technologies enlighten Vietnamese agriculture

Last month, more than two tons of melons have been sold which brought turnover of VND60 million for an “automatic farm” in Ho Chi Minh City. Since the end of 2015, melons are grown with automatic technology in a 1,000 square meters poly-greenhouse operated Agricultural High-tech Park (AHTP).This is one part of  the project co-implemented by the Quang Trung Software High-tech Park (QTSC), Global CyberSoft Vietnam (GCS) and AHTP Management Board.

Melons are in harvesting period.

The first product of the project is the Smart Agri management system which allows farmers to plan cultivation, estimate costs and revenue, collect information about temperature, humidity, light and pH level and regulate devices so as to ensure the standard environment for the plants. Smart Agri also helps analyze and assess quality and productivity, and set up the ecosystem for farmers, distributors and buyers to exchange information and experience.

Technician is using SmartAgri application to update.

This new cultivation method, the yield is 10 percent higher than the traditional method, while the quality is higher. In the past, the temperature, humidity and light of plants mostly depended on farmers’ experience. But now the indices are set automatically through chip sensors installed in the house. With the self-regulating mechanism, the factors which affect development of plants can be set at the most suitable levels.

Each plant has 1-2 pipes to directly transfer water, mineral and necessary nutrients to the roots.

Based on environmental conditions, the sensor chip stuck on each plant will analyze and automatically operate light, fan or water systems to provide the plants the most suitable care and nutrients.

This project is just the latest one among a serials of ICT applications have been applying in Vietnamese agriculture over the past few years. VinaPhone, a telco, for example, provides M2M technology which helps to closely watch over weather conditions and other indicators, thus allowing to prevent epidemics. The information about market prices of farm produce in different areas in Vietnam and in the world is updated by the hour and daily via smartphones. Viettel, the military telco offers Agri.ONE with similar functions.

FPT, the largest information technology group in Vietnam has collaborated with Fujitsu Japan to develop a smart agriculture cooperation project. The first action was to establish the Fujitsu - FPT Akisai Farm and Vegetable Factory to spotlight the FUJITSU Intelligent Society Solution "Akisai" Food and Agriculture Cloud in Hanoi. FPT is in charge of transferring this technology to Vietnam, using Akisai Cloud computing technology to grow medium-sized tomato and lettuce with little potassium in a closed process from management, production to distribution and consumption.

Inside the greenhouse growing tomatoes in Hanoi.

Concisely, this project operates by two production facilities greenhouse cultivation and vegetable factory cultivation. Greenhouse cultivation utilizes Akisai's Greenhouse Horticulture SaaS service for producers engaged in greenhouse horticulture, environmental information (temperature, humidity, CO2, sunlight, rain, and wind direction and speed) is gathered in real time by a variety of sensors installed in the greenhouse, and this information is used to autonomously control the facilities, such as curtains and fans. Meanwhile, the vegetable factory uses environmental data (temperature, humidity, CO2, nutrient liquid temperature, and electrical conductivity in the factory) collected from a variety of sensors in the factory, and will show how low-potassium leaf lettuce is grown.

According to FPT, with Akisai, the lettuce is sweet and contains potassium which is equal to 1/5 of normal lettuce, suitable to those with kidney disease and those who go on a diet. As no chemical is used during cultivation, lettuce can be eaten without washing. Meanwhile, the tomato has high lycopene, the antioxidant component, which is three times higher than normal products.

Vietnamese Government Officers visited and tried fresh tomatoes.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, currently president of the East Asean Community Institute, said Vietnam and Japan had outlined a master plan on applying high-tech solutions in Vietnam’s agricultural development. “The master plan will be implemented soon, with the participation of many Japanese IT groups.”

The high-tech system applied in agriculture opens a bright future for this country.

In May 2014, Japanese companies, Always and Veggy, visited the Northern province of Vinh Phuc tolook for investment opportunity with a Vietnamese company for a high-tech project to produce clean vegetables, which would be sold to Japanese restaurants in Vietnam and exported to Japan. Many Japanese firms like Yanmar, Maruyama MFG, MaruMasu Kikai, Nankai Kinzoku also expressed their intentions to expand agricultural machinery exports to the country.