Agriculture and Innovation in Danang and Montana

Danang, Vietnam, March 6, 2018

Danang City Department of Agriculture

On Tuesday, March 6, Trang and I met with Nguyen Phu Ban, Director, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Peoples Committee of Danang and Thai Van Quang, Chief of Rural Development Division, Danang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (www.snnptnt.danang.gov.vn).

dept of ag pic 3

Departmental mandates include:

  • Formulate strategies for long-term, medium-term and annual development plans and planning and organize them after they are approved;
  • Direct the production of agriculture, forestry, fishery and rural trades, to control the quality of products, plant varieties, and animal breeds;
  • Organize and direct the work of animal and plant quarantine and protection, protection of aquatic resources, forest resources, irrigation, levees, environment and food hygiene and safety within the branch;
  • Manage irrigation works, irrigation works, specialized works, organize the implementation of agro-forestry-fishery policies;
  • Implement agricultural, forestry and fishery extension, applying research and transferring scientific and technological progress into production for farmers and fishermen;
  • Formulate the planning and plans for training and fostering the contingent of managerial officials, scientific and technical personnel and technical workers in the branch;
  • Perform the state management of enterprises in the branch, guide the creation of conditions to support the development of the cooperative economy, farm economy, non-State enterprises in the agro-forestry sector;
  • Perform the State inspection and specialized inspection: To consider and settle complaints and denunciations of citizens, socio-economic organizations and activities related to the branch;
  • Perform the standing task of the city flood control committees and direct the prevention and overcoming of the consequences of storms, floods, and natural calamities, to coordinate the work of safe storm shelter for vessels and the safety of fishermen on the sea; and
  • Coordinate with branches and localities in directing and guiding the implementation of contents related to rural development.

We discussed several topics including the broad question of how the earth’s changing climate is impacting agriculture around Danang City and Vietnam.  Additionally, I was afforded the opportunity to discuss the same issue as it relates to the State of Montana and the work Montana State University is doing to better understand these impacts on agriculture.  I described MSU’s status as Montana’s land-grant institution and one primary focus area on agriculture, especially high-tech agriculture processes and practices, and technology transfer.  We also discussed Montana’s import/export potential in the area of agriculture products and, finally, areas of interest for potential future cooperation.

Mr. Ban and Mr. Quang also described the Danang forest strategy to protect the local environment which includes expanding forest areas and using reservoirs to assist with both flood control and water conservation measures.  Erosion continues to be a challenge and the Dept. is interested in learning about both advanced erosion control techniques as they continue to upgrade their systems, and technology transfer in the areas of conservation and agricultural productivity.  Other areas of interest include:

  • Higher electrical output for better irrigation;
  • Saltwater intrusion (which damages costly irrigation systems);
  • Early storm warning system to more quickly and accurately notify citizens;
  • Water storage system improvements;
  • Animal and plant diseases mitigation;
  • Rice strains resistant to drought and salt;
  • Organic agriculture best practices; and
  • Potential trade opportunities.

Mr. Ban and Mr. Quang agreed there are potential areas of future cooperation and suggested opportunities for working together including sister city relationship with Bozeman, Montana and perhaps organizing a workshop with Montana State University to discuss the impact of climate change on agriculture and the issues described above. I intend to report the nature of these discussions to the City of Bozeman and MSU leadership to determine if, and when, we could make these important connections.  Mr. Ban and Mr. Quang suggested a letter from Bozeman Mayor Cyndy Andrus, Montana Governor Steve Bullock and/or MSU President Waded Cruzado could formalize these relationships begun in Danang and propel them forward.

The FabLab and maker space

IMG_2042

Following our visit to the Department of Agriculture, Trang took me to meet Dr. Hoc Pham, post-doctoral researcher and Manager of the FabLab or Maker Space at Danang University; a partnership between Danang University, Arizona State University, and USAID.  The high tech space intends to help students gain skills to launch and test new technologies and innovative solutions for community development challenges with access to a fully equipped, high-tech and modern laboratory.

Click on the link for more detailed information about the innovative space and news about the recent grand opening (https://heeap.org/news/maker-innovation-space-debuts-danang) or visit the Fablab Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/fablabdanang/ for more information.  The space is innovative in its design and character and attracts designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs to explore their ideas with the benefit of mentors and instructors supporting them along the way.  The lab is replete with the latest in high tech machines including 3-D printers, CNC machines, metal and woodworking tools and cutters, microscopes and laser and photonics technology all designed to give students a place to create and innovate individually, or on a team, with the support of industry and education professionals.  It’s an impressive, high energy facility and one, perhaps, that we could model in Bozeman.  Thank you, Dr. Phan for the tour.

UD8 maker space

Tomorrow (Wednesday, March 7, 2018) we hold our final meetings of the YSEALI exchange with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Danang Chapter and the University of Danang – University of Economics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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