By Le Lan Anh | Agriculture has always been the backbone of Vietnam’s economy, with 50% of the population working in farming, and 70% of land area used for agricultural activities. Vietnam is contributing significantly to world food security as one of the top countries of exporting produce such as rice, black pepper, coffee, seafood, etc.
In 2016, for the first time, Vietnam’s export value of fruit, vegetables and flowers (US$2.45 billion) exceeded the export value of crude oil (US$2.4 billion). The export of fruit, vegetables and flower grows at the remarkable annual rate of 30% on average. It is forecast that the export value of fruit, vegetables and flower will reach US$9-10 billion in 2022. Therefore, this is one of the key areas for development, poverty production in Vietnam government policy.
In line with the policies, cities in Vietnam are developing centralized agricultural production zones. For instance in April 2017, Da Nang City– the third-largest city in Vietnam – approved the planning of 440 hectares for horticulture, livestock and aquaculture production in Hoa Vang district.
The city currently has nine areas of safe vegetable production, but this can only meet 5-7% of the city’s total consumption demand. Therefore, the centralized agricultural production zone aims to optimize the agricultural product supply, secure food safety, and stabilize farmers’ jobs and livelihoods.
Excited by the idea of the cities’ centralized agricultural production zones, MimosaTEK – one of the leading AgriTech startups in Vietnam – brought the idea of Industrialized Agricultural Production Zone to the Smart City Innovation Challenge in Hanoi organized by MBI, ADB, Australian Government and TNB Ventures in November 2017.
This creative and feasible idea helped MimosaTEK earn a Top 3 result in the Challenge out of 197 applicants from 30 countries. Tri Nguyen, CEO of MimosaTEK, came up with a critical question: “Why don’t we structure the agricultural production zone in the cities to be centralized and industrialized so that we can produce more multi-billion-dollar crops for export?”
Based on the IoT platform for precision agriculture that MimosaTEK has been building, the proposed concept of Industrialised Agricultural Production Zone can control the input supplies centrally, produce with Industry 4.0 infrastructure managing the resources such as water and fertilizer precisely and transparent via software, and output contracted for local consumption or export. The whole production process is transparent and traceable as the data is captured by sensor devices or input by farmers.
This is made possible because MimosaTEK already deployed precision irrigation and fertigation solutions from 2016 in multiple provinces in Vietnam. At MimosaTEK, we always try to solve the problem of how farmers can produce more with less resources in order to achieve sustainable development, feeding the larger population while conserving the natural resources.
Our solution is built around the crop needs and trying to analyze data such as crop demands, environmental data collected by sensors to give recommendation to farmers for resources and crop yield optimization.
All data are digitized to become the basis for Industry 4.0, for instance AI or data mining.
MimosaTEK’s solution is recognised by local farmers and international organizations. With the precision irrigation solution, in 2017 MimosaTEK was the first Vietnamese organization to win the Securing Water For Food Grand Challenge supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Government of South Africa (DST), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (MFA-NL).
As a young AgriTech startup since the end of 2014, MimosaTEK’s journey has just started. Figuring out the unique direction, passing the harsh market tests, with vision for better Vietnamese and regional agriculture, MimosaTEK is working hard to serve the farmers and community through its technology.
About the Author
Le Lan Anh is the COO of MimosaTEK. She graduated from National University of Singapore (First Class Honor), and worked in PricewaterhouseCooper LLP in Singapore before returning to Vietnam in 2016. Passionate about agriculture, she works closely with multiple stakeholders such as farmers, agricultural companies, local government, NGOs, and international organization. She led the MimosaTEK teams that won the Securing Water For Food Grand Challenge and Smart City Innovation Challenge.