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Agriculture to get technical overhaul by 2010: ministry

   1/23/2007

Ha Noi, 18-01-2007: Viet Nam plans to mechanise more than fifty per cent of its entire agriculture industry by 2010. A report released recently by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said that by 2010 about 90 per cent of agricultural products preservation and processing work would have been mechanised. Bach Quoc Khang, Director of the Department for Agro-forestry Processing and Salt Making, MARD, said in order to achieve the set targets, the ministry has initiated a series of measures which focus on the restructuring of agriculture production. Khang said pilot mechanisation projects would first be introduced to major rice producing regions and other agricultural centres. Upon successful completion of the projects they would be then replicated in other regions. Phan Thanh Tinh, Director of the Institute for Agriculture Electrical Engineering and Post Harvest Technology, said over the past 20 years of doi moi or renewal, the agro-forestry electrical engineering sector has seen many advances. Compared with 1990, the number of tractors now in use within the country has increased by 9.5 times and water pumps used in irrigation projects have increased by 7.9 times Tinh said, on average about 67 per cent of cultivated lands were ploughed by tractors. Farmers nation-wide used more than half a million rice harvesting and threshing machines, an increase of ten times that of 1990. Over the last 20 years, the institute has conducted numerous studies to develop technical procedure in rice seedling and sugar cane production. Tinh said the technical procedures developed by his institute for sugar cane plantations was honoured with a special prize for science and technology innovation in 2002. The procedures initiated by the institute has enabled sugar cane productivity to increase by 30-35 per cent. Science and technology has been at the forefront of reducing post harvest losses and stabilising the consumption market for agriculture products. Tinh said some machines and equipment manufactured by his institution, particularly drying equipment has halped farmers reduce post harvest losses to 12 per cent for rice, down from 13-16 per cent in 1994 and 15 per cent for vegetables and roots down from 20-30 per cent a decade ago. The use of high technology in agriculture has increased export turnover from processed agro-forestry products by over 20 per cent per annum. According to Tinh, the mechanisation drive has spread to amongst others, the husbandry industry. Compared with 1990, the number of machines used in the industry has increased by 20 times, amounting to 45,000 machines nation-wide. A particular push has been made to use equipment that has been produced in the country. "Vietnamese made machinery costs between 30-50 per cent of the cost of imported models and allows farmers to utilise the saved capital in other areas of production," Tinh said.

VNS
1/23/2007

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