Australia Supports Vietnamese Locality in Fruit and Vegetable Preservation Technology

On September 14, CoolBot advanced cooling technology was introduced to local people in Moc Chau, Son La province.

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The demonstration section and models are in the framework of the Cool Supply Chain project, in part of the Aus4Innovation program, to increase the supply of high-quality pilot vegetables from Son La to urban markets funds by the Australian government.

CoolBot technology uses a controlling system to help conventional air conditioners reach temperatures as low as 5 degrees Celsius. This technology can be applied to cool storage and trucks to store and transport fresh fruits and vegetables.

Australia Supports Vietnamese Locality in Fruit and Vegetable Preservation Technology
Cool storage at Dong Sang Organic Agriculture Cooperative (Dong Sang commune, Moc Chau district) is the first cold storage installed by the project. (Photo: Thoi Dai)

The fruit and vegetable industry is an important source of employment and income for the people of Son La province, especially women. With the development of supermarkets and convenience stores in Hanoi and other big cities, the demand for high-quality agricultural products is also increasing.

However, vegetables and fruits are usually damaged or crushed when transported from Son La to Hanoi, so sometimes farmers have to throw away up to 30% of the output, especially perishable fruits and vegetables such as lettuce, beans, and tomatoes.

The project was conducted by Fresh Studio Vietnam and Applied Horticultural Research from Australia. It has successfully installed 11 cool storages and 2 refracted trucks using CoolBot for farmers and cooperatives in Moc Chau.

In the framework of this project, there were also training sessions on the use of technology and other post-harvest techniques. In addition, for farmers to have full information, the project also conducts an initial assessment of the ability to ensure the quality of vegetables when applying CoolBot technology and improves the increase in farmers’ income after the application of CoolBot technology.

Australia Supports Vietnamese Locality in Fruit and Vegetable Preservation Technology
The CoolBot controller connects to the air conditioner to help bring the temperature below 5 degrees Celsius. (Photo: Thoi Dai)

Talking about the success of the project, Aus4Innovation Program Director, Dr. Kim Wimbush, said, “CoolBot is a recognized solution, aiming at smallholder farmers in developing countries and is now widely used. With the introduction of this technology to Vietnam, we hope to provide opportunities for local agricultural products to reach new and further markets, and at the same time contribute to sustainable livelihoods of the local people”.

Cam Thi Phong, Deputy Director of Son La Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said, “The application of science and technology has been identified by provincial leaders as one of the solutions to boost the agriculture and food industries. We appreciate the project for providing a full package of training and technology transfer, and strengthening the model that includes enterprises, research institutes, and local governments cooperation to ensure sustainability”.

Australia Supports Vietnamese Locality in Fruit and Vegetable Preservation Technology
Refrigerated trucks have helped Nong Xanh Cooperative transport vegetables to customers who are clean vegetable stores in Hanoi every week. (Photo: Thoi Dai)

The project was launched in September 2020 with a funding of AU$378,000 from the Aus4Innovation program. The project team worked with farmer groups to pilot whether applying CoolBot technology using locally produced air conditioners can solve the cool supply chain factor that is lacking in the vegetable value chain, increasing income for farmers and improving the quality and supply of vegetables for consumers in Vietnam .

For more information about the project: https://research.csiro.au/aus4innovation/activities/grants/grants-round-2/

The Aus4Innovation program was launched in 2018 with a budget of AU$16.5 million. This development assistance program is funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), co-funded and managed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) with its strategic partner – the Ministry of Science and Technology Vietnam.

The program’s objective is to strengthen Vietnam’s innovation system, prepare for Industry 4.0-related opportunities, and help shape the development agenda in science and technology and innovation and creativity in Vietnam.

Tracy Dao