Since the launch of its P100 Agricultural Drone, XAG has galvanized agribusinesses, farmers, and young pilots to accelerate drone adoption in Vietnam’s rice production. XAG P100 Agricultural Drone is capable of spraying and spreading large areas of farmland precisely in a short time, making it the game changer for cost reduction and profit growth.
While the global food supply tightens and food prices have risen 75% from the pre-pandemic period, Vietnam’s rice exports soared by 20% year-on-year. Vietnam becomes the strong mainstay to meet the world’s growing rice demand, with its fragrant rice warmly welcomed by high-end markets. Rice farmers are in need of digital technology to effectively raise production, and drones are now more commonly seen across the Mekong River Delta.
The forerunner who promotes drones
In Dong Thap Province, 35-year-old Le Quoc Trung manages a business that is engaged in the sales, service, and training of agricultural drones. He has been busy teaching farmers to operate XAG drones since this July.
In the past, most farm works was done manually, and farmers were unable to calculate the actual input or evenly distribute them in the fields. The inefficiency and imprecision led to the waste of input and extra expenditure, and labor cost was another financial burden.
Le is among the first to introduce XAG P100 Agricultural Drone which fits well in Vietnam’s rice paddies. The drone can sow seeds, spread fertilizers, and spray crops, equipped with the RTK navigation system allowing it to stick on the exact path and avoid overlaps or misses.
According to Le, his drone sales and service orders have increased significantly after the introduction of XAG P100. “Its detachable design is unique in the drone market, which enables an easy switch between spraying and spreading. And the 40kg payload allows it to serve larger farmlands on each take-off,” Le said. As more farmers are taking the lead to adopt drones, digital farming is set to thrive and benefits rice export.
Overcome the rising input costs
The scale-up of drones is also partly driven by the soaring fertilizer price and labor costs that have made farmers stressed out. Phan Van Dong is a 37-year-old farmer who has a 7-hectare rice paddy in Long An Province. Like many others in the busy farming seasons, Phan used to hire workers with most of his budget and pay high prices for materials and energy.
Although having fertile lands, it was hard to reap profits and achieve positive cash flow on farming because of the increasing operational costs. To change the game, he decided to invest in XAG’s autonomous drone for rice cultivation.
With the help of agricultural drones, Phan has forged a new path to increase his output by over 10%. “Compared to manual operation, the XAG P100 drone saved me 50% of seeds and reduced 30% of fertilizers and pesticides, which brings me a better income than ever,” he said.
Phan can just simply set drone application rate on the smartphone to deliver the amounts of seeds and other agricultural inputs needed for a given field. He sees himself as the new generation of farmers, who are leveraging technology to transform traditional rice farming.
Young pilots take flight in agriculture
Witnessing the advantages of farming with drones, the demand for drone services from smallholders and family farms is surging, which opens a new career for young people to become drone pilots.
Tran Minh Man, 25 years old, quit his credit salesman job and joined XAG local pilot team back home. The transition has brought him better income and greater accomplishment, “I can serve farmers and earn 50% more than in the city, from USD500 to over USD750 per month.” Now, Tran and other pilots work with farmers and agricultural cooperatives in Dong Thap, helping them to seed, spread and spray with drones.
Tran has served a 100-hectare rice paddy belonging to an agricultural cooperative. By the end of 2021, Vietnam has more than 27,000 agricultural cooperatives, whose average revenue nationwide is VND4.3 billion in 2020 and continues to grow. Holding the responsibility to integrate smallholders’ land, cooperatives are craving for advanced technology to reduce risks.
Last season, by working with Tran’s team and adopting XAG P100 Agricultural Drone, the agricultural cooperative relieved labor burden, ensured uniformity, and saved 1/3 of the materials while increasing the rice output by over 10%.
By bringing automation into the old-fashioned industry, drone breaks the limit of agriculture and rural development. As more rural youth form teams to challenge traditions on farm, drones will be applied widespread and rice productivity will be pushed to the next level.