Crops

UK-Vietnam agri-trade report identifies growth opportunities, emphasising Vietnamese products' potential in UK markets. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

In the UK-Vietnam Agricultural Trade report titled 'Connecting the UK and Vietnam in agriculture, food and drink', the focus is on highlighting the driving forces behind the UK-Vietnam agricultural trade relationship and identifying potential growth opportunities for the two countries' agricultural sectors

According to the report, with the rapid expansion of Vietnamese restaurants in the UK, British consumers now have access to a variety of Vietnamese agricultural products being sold in supermarkets.

However, Vietnamese agricultural products still only account for a small proportion of imports from Vietnam to the UK, currently making up 4.8%. This situation represents a significant growth opportunity in the field of agricultural products and related items, which is expected to play a more significant role in shaping trade relations between the UK and Vietnam.

The UKVFTA Agreement officially took effect in May 2021 and is a catalyst for trade exchange. UKVFTA offers huge opportunities for the agriculture, food, and beverage industries. Most food and beverage product lines are currently benefiting from a gradual reduction and, eventually, complete elimination of tariffs by 2031 (subject to relevant tariff quotas).

According to the report, by 2023 Vietnam's fish and shellfish export value to the UK will reach nearly US$300mn, making seafood the fifth product group among the main export products from Vietnam. In January 2023, the People's Committee of Cao Phong district (Hoa Binh province) coordinated with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Hoa Binh province to organise a ceremony to export to the UK the first shipment of seven tons of Cao Phong oranges. Next, in May 2023, a shipment of five tons of typical Vietnamese Ri6 durian was distributed to supermarkets across the UK.

The report also stated that although Vietnam's imports currently only account for 1% of the UK's total annual imports of US$700bn, high purchasing power and the growing Vietnamese community in the UK are the basis foundation for guaranteed future growth. Currently, the UK is Vietnam's third largest trading partner in Europe.

In addition, with the UK joining CPTPP, the accessibility of Vietnamese agricultural products will also improve. The report also emphasises that, in recent years, Vietnam's agricultural sector has been transforming towards reducing emissions, applying organic processes, and exploiting renewable energy sources. These environmental protection efforts will resonate with British consumers, who prioritise products with traceability, food safety, environmental friendliness, and ethical standards.

Additionally, as Vietnamese cuisine such as pho or banh mi becomes more popular with the British, the Vietnamese government and exporters could do better to promote brands that have been recognised and protected with geographical indication for Vietnamese agricultural products, similar to a number of British food brands such as Scottish whiskey, Ahmad, Twinings, Cadbury, and McVitie's that have successfully entered Vietnam.

Huida Technology participate in the 2024 Hannover Agricultural Machinery Exhibition in Thailand. (Image source: Huida Tech)

HUIDA TECH, China's foremost manufacturer of agricultural drones, tractor autopilot systems, and intelligent irrigation systems, showcased its flagship agricultural products and solutions, including agricultural drones, navigation, and intelligent irrigation systems at Agritechnica Asia 2024, held from May 22 to 24 in Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre

The premier trade fair for agricultural machinery and equipment in Asia, jointly hosted by The German Agricultural Society (DLG) and VNU Exhibition Asia Pacific, provided a platform for HUIDA TECH to highlight its commitment to providing highly efficient agricultural solutions. The company focuses on R&D and manufacturing of advanced equipment covering the entire farming and harvesting process, widely applied in various stages of agricultural production in Thailand.

Faye Liang, head of HUIDA TECH Asia-Pacific Region, emphasised the company's deep understanding of the agricultural sector's practical needs for intelligent equipment. She stated, "HUIDA TECH has long been immersed in the agricultural sector, deeply understanding the practical needs for intelligent equipment. We continually upgrade our R&D and manufacturing capabilities and establish a global sales and service network. Leveraging our strong R&D and supply chain advantages, we focus on innovation and intelligent technology to transform traditional agriculture, ensuring precision, automation, and intelligent operation."

Smart drone solutions: Boosting efficiency, accuracy, and safety

Their latest 540S agricultural drone builds upon the foundation of the HD540Pro, enhancing functions and performance, especially in spraying, sowing, avionics control, and electricity optimisation, to meet various application scenarios. This innovation aims to achieve safer, more precise, and more efficient agricultural operations, including sowing and spraying. Notably, HUIDA TECH has achieved independent R&D of all core components, allowing for comprehensive management of the product's development process.

Navigating bigger crop yield: Precision in agricultural machinery autopilot

The HD408 navigation agricultural machinery autopilot system developed by HUIDA TECH enables high-precision positioning, inertial navigation, and automatic control for operations such as sowing, furrowing, mulching, and ridging. Operating nonstop around the clock, this system improves land utilisation, operating accuracy, efficiency, and boosts crop yield and economic benefits.

Smart irrigation solutions: Conserving resources and costs

Their intelligent irrigation system integrates intelligent monitoring and control equipment with software, accurately controlling the entire irrigation process from the pump room to the field. Real-time status monitoring of crop growth, pests and diseases, and soil environment, coupled with agronomic, crop, and soil modeling, provides growers with scientific insight to make decisions and optimise planting management. The system is expected to save 30% of water, 15% of fertiliser, and labor by 80%, thereby improving crop yield while lowering operating costs.

Focus on Southeast Asian market: Localising solutions for Thailand

Thailand, as the most important agricultural country in Southeast Asia, is the world's No.1 producer of natural rubber, a top rice exporter, and a major producer and exporter of cash crops including cassava, sugar cane, and corn.

Liang stated, "The market is presenting both challenges and opportunities. For HUIDA TECH, we will focus on not only promoting intelligent product development but also advancing the localisation of our products, services, and solutions in the Southeast Asian market."

 

Verdi’s AI-powered devices are designed to transform existing farm infrastructure into smart systems, leading to significant water savings and sustainable farming. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

NEC X, the innovation accelerator from Silicon Valley, supported by the advanced technology portfolio of NEC, has announced its latest investment in Verdi Expeditions Inc., the pioneer in scalable farm automation and bespoke plant health care solutions 

In addition to the financial commitment, NEC X will work in tandem with Verdi to further develop its technology and extend its reach geographically, while also supporting NEC’s CropScope initiative. This joint endeavor aims to advance irrigation methods on Portuguese farms in collaboration with Kagome Co., Ltd, and concurrently, CropScope will enhance Verdi’s farm automation technology and increase its support for agricultural production.

This partnership and collective effort are in line with the objectives of NEC X’s Elev X! programs, which aim to create strategic partnerships that bridge technological divides, foster innovation, and expedite the global adoption of pioneering startups.

Furthermore, this marks Verdi’s inclusion in the Elev X! Boost program, which offers startups poised for substantial growth a tailored mix of capital, strategic partnerships, and integration with NEC’s vast technological ecosystem.

Shintaro Matsumoto, president and CEO of NEC X, emphasised the necessity for innovative and sustainable agricultural infrastructure in light of the growing severity of weather conditions and global resource shortages. He reaffirmed NEC X’s commitment to this critical issue through the strategic investment in Verdi, whose cutting-edge solutions are expected to revolutionize farming practices. He is confident that Verdi will have a significant and lasting impact as part of the Elev X! Boost and the CropScope initiative.

Arthur Chen, CEO and Co-founder of Verdi, expressed that the strategic partnership, collaboration, and integration with NEC X are invaluable as they enhance their AI capabilities and expand their platform to new markets. With NEC’s global presence and deep industry knowledge, he believes they are well-positioned to become a global leader. He views NEC X’s support as more than just an investment; it is a partnership dedicated to the success of startups.

Established in 2020 by Canadian entrepreneurs Arthur Chen and Roman Kozak, Verdi is at the forefront of developing modern agricultural automation tools and addressing the scalability challenges that have historically impeded the widespread adoption of farm automation.

Verdi’s smart devices upgrade existing agricultural infrastructure, such as irrigation systems, into intelligent systems capable of AI-driven automation. This enables farmers to increase the productivity of crops and workforce while substantially lowering the costs of adopting new technologies. Verdi has also made a sustainable impact on its clients, which include some of the largest food brands globally, saving them over 30 million liters of water in 2023.

This recent investment aligns with NEC’s longstanding dedication to promoting sustainable and profitable farming practices. This commitment is exemplified by the development of the AI-powered agricultural ICT platform “CropScope,” and the formation of joint ventures like DXAS Agricultural Technology LDA with Kagome Co., Ltd.

With this investment, NEC X joins an esteemed group of investors in Verdi, including SVG Ventures, a key player in NEC X’s expanding partner network that provides startups with essential expertise, resources, and opportunities for growth. SVG Ventures played a pivotal role in introducing Verdi at the THRIVE accelerator demo day in Calgary, a highlight of Stampede 2023.

Farmers and the local agriculture sector hope that implementing these revolutionary farming methods in Can Tho will help raise rice quality, while also cutting emissions from cultivation. (Image source: MARD)

5 April marked the launch of a high-quality, low-emission rice production pilot model in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho

The 50-acre model that will apply sustainable farming practices, will first be tested at the Thuan Tien Cooperative in Thanh An commune. Once the model proves successful, it will be replicated in all of the cooperative’s 512 hectares, as well as other localities. The project has managed to garner support from numerous international organisations and businesses such as the World Bank and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

The launching ceremony of the project was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), and 12 Mekong Delta localities, farmers, experts and those from international organisations. With the aim of training local farmers, the MARD on the same day, launched five demonstration sites on high-quality, low-carbon rice cultivation

Farmers and the local agriculture sector hope that implementing these revolutionary farming methods in Can Tho will help raise rice quality, while also cutting emissions from cultivation. IRRI deputy director general, Joanna Kane-Potaka also hopes that this private model will enable farmers to reflect on the experience of experts and partners in low-carbon rice cultivation. 

 

The initiative's success reflects the combined efforts of partners, collaborators, and the farming community. (Image source: ICRISAT)

Powered by research and data from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), farmers can quickly address numerous agricultural challenges by leveraging the strengths of the Plantix app's AI-driven diagnostics

Thanks to the seamless integration of technology and agricultural expertise, more than 30 million smallholder farmers in the semi-arid tropics have been empowered with real-time plant health management advice, significantly improving farming practices. 

The initiative's success reflects the combined efforts of partners, collaborators, and the farming community. CEO of Plantix, Simone Strey extended gratitude to all stakeholders involved in the decade-long initiative, while also encouraging like-minded entities to join the mission of transforming agriculture through science and technology. 

"We believe in the power of shared visions, combining science, innovation and technology to create effective solutions that truly benefit smallholder farmers,” stated director general of ICRISAT, Dr Jacqueline d’Arros Hughes. “Together, we have achieved over 30 million downloads of the Plantix app and analysed more than 100 million images, providing critical agricultural insights to millions of farmers worldwide.” 

In recognition of the 10-year milestone, ICRISAT and Plantix also unveiled a commemorative brochure, 'Sowing a Seed of Change'. According to Dr Srikanth Rupavatharam, senior Scientist-Digital Agriculture, Global Research Programme for Resilient Farm and Food Systems at ICRISAT, the brochure which is a testament to a decade of dedication and progress serves as a catalyst for conversations within agricultural networks worldwide. 

For more information, visit: https://plantix.net/en/ 

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