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On 18th,2023, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and CropLife Asia (CLA), organized the Forum “Adoption of Science and Technology Innovations towards Sustainable Agricultural Development” in Hanoi. The forum aims to facilitate the exchange of recent updates and insights related to the trends of research, development, and application of technological advancements, and innovative solutions that are vital for achieving sustainable agriculture and adapting to climate change.

The forum also provides a platform for meaningful dialogues and knowledge exchange on technology and innovation among management agencies, research units, and enterprises operating in the agricultural sector. The ultimate goal is to promote science-based approaches in the application and commercialization of cutting-edge technological products, aligning with the objectives of fostering sustainable agriculture, curbing emissions, and enhancing climate change adaptation in Vietnam. 

Vietnam, once grappling with food shortages, has emerged as a prominent global exporter of agricultural products, driven by the robust application of scientific advancements in agricultural production. In 2022, the country’s agricultural exports reached $53.4 billion, marking a notable 9.7% increase from the previous year. Notably, crop products contributed $22.6 billion to this figure, reflecting a 5.13% rise. In the first 9 months of 2023, agricultural exports totaled $38.48 billion, with cultivation playing a pivotal role by contributing $19.54 billion, constituting approximately 50.8% of the sector's export value. The agriculture and rural development sectors hold a vital position in the economy structure, ensuring national food security. These accomplishments owe much to the substantial contributions of science and technology. Over the period of 2020-2023, Vietnamese scientists have pioneered the creation of 148 recognized plant varieties. Additionally, 36 technical advances are endorsed by the MARD to have led to increased production, enhancing both yield and product quality for domestic consumption and international exports.

During his address at the forum, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Phung Duc Tien affirmed: "Vietnam has committed to becoming a transparent, responsible, and sustainable food producer and provider in the near future. Accordingly, Vietnam will transition its food and agricultural system towards a “green", low-emission, and sustainable paradigm, through promoting the development and application of science and technology, fostering innovation in agricultural production, and adopting the public-private partnership model, thus further integrating digital technology into agricultural value chains.”

Science, technology, and innovation are critical to the sustainable development of the global food system. It is estimated that science and technology have contributed about 35% to the success in agricultural production in Vietnam over the past few years; in particular, improvements in plant varieties, inputs and advanced farming tools leveraging AIS and digitalization have been the key to empower farmers to adapt more effectively to unfavorable weather conditions and increase crop yields with improved quality and nutritional value. Consequently, farmers can produce diversified and nutritious food sources at reasonable prices, all while enhancing efficiency and environmental sustainability. This is achieved through more economical utilization of input materials, leading to reduced emissions and diminished pressure on natural resources including soil and water.

To ensure that farmers not only have timely and equitable access to agricultural technology and innovative solutions but also utilize these tools responsibly, a comprehensive and systematic approach is needed. The approach is to strengthen a transparent, science-based regulatory system consistent with international best practice that encourage agricultural innovation.

Speakers at the forum provided a comprehensive overview of the application of science, technology and innovation in the agricultural sector, both in Vietnam and in global, while discussing current issues and challenges in the research and transfer of technical advancements towards sustainable agricultural development and identifying priorities and orientations in research and application in Vietnam. In doing so, the forum sought to propose solutions to promote the processes of research, knowledge transfer, and public-private collaboration, thereby ensuring that the benefits of scientific and technological research are widely shared. Through collaborative efforts and the exchange of experiences, the sharing of scientific and technological knowledge has played a pivotal role in enhancing the capabilities, perspectives, and strategic direction Vietnam-based research and innovation endeavors. This, in turn, has promoted the progress of science, technology, and innovation within agriculture, fostering sustainable development and delivering tangible socio-economic benefits to farmers, contributing to the broader global development within the context of international integration.

Within the framework of the forum, the Department of Science, Technology and Environment (MARD) and CropLife Asia signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to promote the application of biotechnology solutions in agriculture in the period of 2023-2028. Accordingly, both parties made the commitment to promote communication activities, information sharing, policy consultancy, training, and in-depth scientific seminars to update and encourage the application of solutions and achievements of science, technology and advanced innovation in agriculture. At the same time, the partnership is geared towards ensuring that farmers can readily access and effectively apply the latest scientific advancements, thereby contributing to the overarching objective of fostering sustainable agricultural development in Vietnam.