Vietnam needs to push for agricultural mechanisation

Monday, 2019-03-18 10:42:16
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Farmers use machines to harvest rice. (Photo: Bao Dau tu)
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NDO - The use of agricultural machinery in Vietnam has seen positive progress in recent years but its level remains low in comparison with other countries in the region and the world, which has restrained the growth of agriculture.

According to agricultural authorities, the number of agricultural machines has increased by up to six-fold, depending on type, while their power is also shifting from small-power engines to medium and large engines.

The percentage of mechanisation is also relatively high in certain stages such as soil preparation (93%), pesticide spraying for rice, tea, coffee and sugarcane (75%), and transportation (100%).

But the use of agricultural machines in Vietnam is rather low at 2.4 horsepower per hectare, compared with 4 horsepower in Thailand, 8 horsepower in China and 10 horsepower in the Republic of Korea.

Furthermore, the level of mechanisation is also low, with the majority of machines used in soil preparation having low power, which is appropriate only for household-owned and fragmented fields. The stage of plant care is mainly done by using handheld spraying machines.

Mechanisation in harvesting and processing agricultural produce has never been as urgent as it is today in order to bring the most benefits to agricultural restructuring. Several studies have shown that the rate of post-harvest loss in Vietnam is 32% for fruit and vegetables, 15% for grains, 14% for meat and 12% for rice and seafood.

In the context of deepening international integration, the development of new technologies is bound to affect agriculture and the application of machinery in agricultural production and processing by enhancing productivity and quality while reducing costs, making it an urgent issue in the time ahead.

Experts say if Vietnam wants to push for agricultural mechanisation, the government needs to fine-tune its policies to support farmers to invest in machinery, especially in stages that need mechanisation most, such as the processing and storage of agricultural produce. At the same time, support also needs to be provided for individuals and organisations designing and manufacturing agricultural machines.

Recently the Ministry of Industry and Trade has issued a list of agricultural machines and parts to receive government support. Once this policy is implemented effectively, it is certain to boost the growth of domestic agricultural mechanisation, thereby stimulating Vietnam’s agriculture.