National University HCMC promotes research, technology transfer in agriculture

Assoc. Prof. - Dr. Le Thi Kim Phung, Sustainable Process Engineering Group of the HCMC University of Technology under the VNUHCMC, said that the agricultural sector had contributed greatly to the economy and export. Especially, agriculture plays an important role in national food security. However, this industry has been facing many challenges, such as pesticide overuse, problems with seedlings, and low application of high technologies to production, leading to losses and waste of up to US$3.9 billion per year.

Meanwhile, the research by the institute and the university are only carried out in small laboratories. There is not enough space for experimental production. For example, the Sustainable Process Engineering Group has researched many drugs and organic fertilizers but lacks the facilities to commercialize them in large quantities to meet the market demand. While in the market, imported goods are extremely expensive, making them difficult for farmers to access.

Dr. Nguyen Huu Hoang, Center for Research and Application of High Technology in Agriculture of the University of Natural Sciences under the VNUHCMC, said that the agricultural industry faced many challenges, such as low labor productivity due to unstable market, lack of strategic direction, lack of capital and basis technology, lack of highly-qualified human resources, small production scale, and loose legal background. Therefore, the application of high technology in agricultural research and production is an urgent matter.

Dr. Nguyen Huu Hoang cited that cantaloupe farmers face the situation that, when their melons are about to be ready for harvest, they contract a disease that causes rot and damage to both the fruit and vine. It is because high technology has not yet been applied to cantaloupe production. Using scientific and technical advances will help farmers avoid these diseases because the main cause is too much sun and too high temperatures. From this fact, the center proposed that there should be a high-tech agricultural center to train qualified human resources, associate with enterprises, and conduct research on seedlings, breeding stocks, and molecular pathology of plants to serve the agriculture in particular and the community in general.

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