Speaking at the opening of the webinar, VCA chairman Nguyen Ngoc Bao affirmed that, up to now, digital transformation has been identified as one of the most important directions for agricultural cooperatives to develop in a sustainable way, adapting to the market. However, there is still much work to be done for cooperatives to apply modern technology in production and effective management.
In the agricultural sector alone, according to the Department of Co-operatives and Rural Development, there was 17,000 agricultural cooperatives and 68 cooperative unions across the country in 2020. The rate of cooperatives operating effectively is about 70%. Out of 1,718 cooperatives applying high technology, only 240 use smart production and management software, accounting for 1.5%, mainly focusing on the application of irrigation technology, net house system, and traceability stamping.
The application of digital transformation in processing, cooperative management, and product trading has not been focused. This has left agricultural cooperatives in a state of ineffective management of resources and limits the interaction between the actors related to the ecosystem, emphasised the VCA Chairman.
Many speakers at the webinar said that the small, inefficient production model and lack of value chain linkages have always been barriers in the development of agricultural cooperatives. Therefore, besides investment in processing technology, focusing on market development, digital transformation and application of information technology are considered effective solutions for the development of Vietnam's agriculture in general and agricultural cooperatives in particular, especially in the current period.
The delegates focused on exchanging and discussing the current situation and proposing solutions to apply information technology and digital transformation in the cooperative area to adapt to climate change in Vietnam; a number of successful models of digital transformation cooperatives in the locality. At the same time, many feasible and practical solutions have been proposed for state management agencies, the VCA and provinces and cities, research institutes in applying digital transformation and information technology solutions to the cooperative area.
According to the latest data from the VCA, as of September 2021, the country had 26,593 cooperatives (17,363 agricultural cooperatives, 8,042 non-agricultural cooperatives, 1,188 People's Credit Funds), 106 cooperative unions and 119,670 cooperative group, attracting more than 8.1 million members, mainly representatives of individual households in rural areas, accounting for 33% of the total number of individual households in rural areas; Directly affecting the lives, income and purchasing power of nearly 30 million people, contributing on average about 4.8% of GDP, including indirect contributions from member economies reaching nearly 30% of GDP.
The increasing size of cooperatives and cooperative groups shows that association and cooperation in production and business are an inevitable and objective trend.