To promote smart agriculture as an engine to drive resource-efficient crop production, Mekong Institute (MI) trained 24 agriculture stakeholders from government agencies, research/academic institutions, and private enterprises in “Sustainable and Smart Farming Technologies” from September 26 to 30, 2022 at Mekong Institute, Khon Kaen, Thailand.
The five-day training program raised the awareness of participants from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam on the value of smart farming systems in enhancing crop production and contributing to a sustainable food system in the region.
“While the usage of smart technologies in farming is viewed as complicated and costly for smallholder farmers and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), there is a spectrum of technological options that are effective yet affordable for them to adopt. Some of these options are almost costless and some require minimal investments, the returns on which outweigh the initial costs in terms of agricultural farming precision and resource efficiency,” Ms. Maria Theresa Medialdia, Director of the Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department of Mekong Institute, said during the opening program. She expressed the hope the training program would serve as an avenue for CLMV to learn more about suitable technologies they can utilize and adopt in their respective countries.
The course increased the participants’ understanding of the importance of smart farming technologies and innovations for crop production and a number of agricultural technologies from ground to sky. Experienced experts from several agencies, including Kasetsart University, the Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA), the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISDA), the Thai Durian Association, Keha Farm, Siam Kubota, VIP Agriculture, and DJI Thailand, were invited to share their knowledge with the participants.
Structured learning visits to farmer groups whose members are currently adopting smart technologies provided an opportunity for the participants to engage and exchange ideas on best practices and effective strategies to improve crop production. At the end of the course, participants came up with action plans on application and promotion of smart technologies for implementation.
The training program was organized under the MI’s project Sustainable and Smart Agricultural Supply Chain Development in Mekong Countries which is being supported by the Mekong-Korea Cooperation Fund.