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Australia funds farming innovation center in Vietnam's coffee kingdom

By Minh Minh   June 9, 2022 | 10:52 pm PT
Australia funds farming innovation center in Vietnam's coffee kingdom
A farmer collects coffee in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai in November 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hoa
The five provinces in the Central Highlands, home to coffee and other high-value crops, set up an innovation cluster Friday to link researchers and farmers and improve local agriculture.

The Central Highlands' Regional Innovation Cluster, set up with assistance from the Australian Government's Aus4Innovation program, will serve as a forum for researchers, businesses and business groups, governments, and farmers to come together and address the agricultural sector's challenges and opportunities.

The cluster aims to improve farmers' access to information about markets, and enable knowledge and technology transfer among people involved in the local production chain.

Aus4Innovation has promised seed funding of AUD50,000 ($35,500) for the cluster in its first year.

The program is also identifying experts and creating training opportunities for provincial stakeholders.

Aus4Innovation is an AUD14.5-million ($10.3 million) program run by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in collaboration with Vietnam’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

It has launched other agricultural initiatives across the country such as Horticulture Innovation in the north and the Mekong Aquaculture Innovation Cluster.

Tran Van Tung (2nd, L), Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, introduces to Australian Deputy Head of Mission Mark Tattersall (R) and Aus4Innovation Program Director Kim Wimbush (C) about coffee and other agri-food products of the Central Highlands. Photo courtesy of the Australian Embassy in Vietnam

Tran Van Tung (2nd, L), Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, introduces to Australian Deputy Head of Mission Mark Tattersall (R) and Aus4Innovation Program Director Kim Wimbush (C) about coffee and other agri-food products of the Central Highlands. Photo courtesy of the Australian Embassy in Vietnam

The Australian embassy said in a statement that it expects the Central Highlands' innovation cluster "to harness the ideas and skills of its members, build synergies around joint innovation opportunities and invite technology transfer and knowledge exchange to support inclusive regional growth."

The Central Highlands are a hub for high-value crops such as coffee, pepper, tea, fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

Vietnam is the second-largest coffee exporter in the world after Brazil, and 95 percent of its coffee comes from the Central Highlands, and so the innovation system needs to include domestic and export value chain considerations, the embassy added.

 
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