Following the general trend of economic development in Bac Ninh province on promoting the high-tech application in agriculture for safe and eco-friendly agriculture, the Delco Agriculture Joint Stock Company (Delco Agri) has implemented a high-tech agricultural project. The objective of the project is to apply advanced and highly automated techniques for producing fresh vegetables and agricultural products.     During the project implementation in 2017, Delco Agri invested VND 60 billion to build a farm in Nguyet Duc commune, Thuan Thanh district (Bac Ninh province). The farm covers an area of 6 ha, including a fishpond; chicken farming area; greenhouse growing Japanese melon and vegetables using the hydroponic method. This is one of the first smart agricultural models integrating the Internet of Things (IoT) of 4.0 technology. Additionally, it is considered as one of the modern smart farming models in the North due to the integration of information technology into the growing model for fresh vegetables and agricultural products. In particular, the design, construction,  installation, development of monitoring software, automatic control and IoT connection are carried out by Delco Agri’s engineers and Vietnamese partners.

Melon growing garden – Delco Agri

In the vegetable and melon growing areas, a sensor system is installed via software to measure all parameters of soil, environment and determine the suitable time for irrigation, lighting, spraying, sunshade, and ventilation for each stage of plant growth. Vegetables are grown in membrane houses, using temperature and light sensors to control the surrounding environment and pests for the prevention of heavy metal contamination. Water sources used for growing vegetables are also tested and meeting safety standards. The whole farming process is a closed chain, using standard substrates and clean water, mineral salts to provide vegetables with nutrition.

Kimoji melon is a high-class Japanese melon grown by the drip irrigation system, the number of watering times per day depends on the tree age and weather conditions to ensure sufficient nutrients, microelements for the best growth. Melon is pollinated by hand and when the grid texture on the outer skin is formed, it will be massaged by Delco Agri’s engineers to create a beautiful texture and metabolize the inner nutrients evenly. When ripen, honeydew melon has pale green flesh, high nutritional content, honey-like sweet odor and taste. It can weigh from 1.2 to 1.8 kg in case of favorable weather.

In the animal farming area, the automatic sensor system allows managing all stages such as feeding, lighting, harvesting eggs, collecting manure, heating, etc. just using a smartphone. As a result, only 15 workers are required to control and monitor the whole farm. This helps Delco Agri to develop agricultural models with low costs, fast deployment, and control of productivity and product quality. For the chicken farming area, new technologies including fresh air supply system, system collecting toxic gas from the inside out, and air cooling system on the roof are applied. In winter, the number of chickens raised in the same area compared to conventional farming is increased by 2.5 times thanks to the heating system. In addition, the farm design is also integrated with various solutions for improving the working environment such as: Greenery, resting grounds, natural cooling and ventilation systems, and other utilities.

 

Chicken farming house – Delco Agri

Currently, Delco Farm has 2 chicken farming houses for eggs with over 40,000 chickens, 1 hydroponic vegetable farming house in the area of over 1000m2  and 4 Kimoji melon growing gardens of 1700m2. All products originated from the farm have a traceability code (QR code) to check the origin and production process. Products released to the market have received positive responses from partners and customers in terms of quality and price. Therefore, the 2018 average revenue of Delco Agri is over 30 billion dongs, agricultural revenue is 8 billion/1 ha. Delco products are widely sold at supermarket chains, fresh food stores in Hanoi. Besides, our products are also provided to several food service suppliers in Hanoi, Korean and Japanese restaurants, and schools.

 

Hydroponic farming house – Delco Agri

When it comes to difficulties and challenges in investing in high-tech agriculture, General Director of Delco Agri – Mr. Le Khanh Manh said that the most concerned matter when investing in agriculture is the land lease. The initial duration of our land lease contract with the People’s Committee of Nguyet Duc commune is only 5 years. This causes difficulties for the funding process as well as investments in facilities and production area expansion. Our difficulties have been removed when Bac Ninh province considers and facilitates to lease land and grant land-use rights for a longer time. We also expect the authorities to have a mechanism to support businesses to enjoy preferential policies as prescribed for production stabilization.

To promote the development of high-tech agriculture, Mr. Manh also came up with the proposal that the local authority should set up sub-committees acting as a focal point to guide and reduce administrative procedures for easier information capture  on specific agricultural sectors by local people and enterprises. Besides, the local authority should establish centers for agricultural product consumption; apply technology to the formation and operation of supply chain linkages. The interaction between associated entities plus high-tech applications will promote sustainable agricultural development and improve competitiveness. It is necessary for a mechanism controlling food sources of unknown origin for safe food production purposes.

In the near future, Delco Agri will continually develop crops and livestock meeting market demand and take advantage of existing technologies. Pilot farming projects for fruits of nutrient-richness and high economic value will be initiated. In addition, the Company will also persuade other local farms to form a large production area. Technology application enables productivity improvement, farming risk control, and the formation of a large production area meeting output for retail traders. Building a chain of technological applications in production and minimizing transportation and circulation costs will allow to compete on price, produce safer products, towards sustainable and  environmentally-friendly agriculture.