Startups gather in HCMC to share hi-tech agricultural models

For four days, participants discussed the role of young businesses in high-tech agriculture startup and innovation

Young entrepreneurs from the ten ASEAN countries, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, gathered last week at the ASEAN+3 Young Entrepreneurs Forum held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to share hi-tech agricultural startup models.

Under the banner “Towards Innovative Hi-tech Agricultural Startups”, 160 young leaders assembled for four days to discuss the opportunities and challenges faced by hi-tech agriculture startups in the region.

The event was organised by the National Committee on Youth of Vietnam in collaboration with the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union.

“Innovation and startups in hi-tech agriculture is a global trend. It needs the co-operation of countries, young people and young entrepreneurs who will play a key role in this field,” said Nguyen Ngoc Luong, Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, at the forum’s opening ceremony.

Since 1997, the ASEAN+3 cooperation mechanism has functioned as a coordinator of cooperation between the ten countries that make up ASEAN plus China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The forum is part of Vietnam’s ASEAN+3 youth cooperation mechanism to concretise the Hanoi initiative on developing ASEAN young human resources.

Examples of innovation

Keb Cuevas, founder and CEO of Tagani, a Filipino startup and Southeast Asia’s largest farm tourism and experience platform, explained at the forum how his organisation is working to help tourists understand more about his country’s culture and food.  

Tagani is a sustainable social enterprise that helps tourists relax through farm experiences and help farmers earn additional income through contract growing and farm tourism.

According to a report by media outlet Vietnam+, representatives from Thailand also shared information related to a startup model with rubber-made pillow products and mattresses covered by traditional brocades.

Vietnamese representative Pham Thi Thu Van introduced a startup model with Ben Tre coconut products, saying that with CocoSmile brand, Ben Tre coconut are exported to Singapore, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US.

Tan Sijie Darren, a representative of the Singapore delegation, said he was working in a high-tech farm on the terrace of a building in downtown Singapore. The farm employed retired people and provided clean vegetables and fruits to locals.

Tan said ASEAN countries were facing many problems such as population growth, climate change and urbanisation, affecting many areas, including agriculture. Innovative startups, he said, was therefore an ideal solution to tackle these problems.