Hoang Thi Yen Mai is on a mission.
As an entrepreneur and co-founder of Hachi, she is on the frontline of efforts to take a high-tech approach to agriculture production in Vietnam and help her country adapt to the increasingly severe impacts of climate change.

Hoang Thi Yen Mai - Co-founder of Hachi

Her Hanoi-based firm has enjoyed spectacular success in the past two years, having built 30 high-tech farms throughout the country that achieve up to 300 per cent higher productivity than traditional farming methods, creating indirect jobs for more than 150 local workers.
Importantly, the use of smart hydroponic technology – such as 3G and Wifi-controlled senors that manage irrigation, supply of nutrients and tracking of produce – means more than 100 types of VietGAP-qualified clean vegetables can be produced in a environmentally and climate-friendly manner.

Smart hydroponic technology

This innovative approach to farming results in zero use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers that pollute the soil, water sources and release carbon dioxide emissions during production, resulting in harmful amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) – a key driver of climate change.
Plants also help absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen to help the environment. These high-tech farms can also prosper where traditional farming fails due to climate change impacts, such as soil degradation and drought which increasingly blight many parts of Vietnam.
As Mai and her team look back on their progress, they are quick to highlight a key reason for their innovation-driven success.
“VCIC has helped us get this far and elevate our performance. It helped unlock the door to a world of opportunity,” said Mai.
To translate rich potential into reality, Hachi recognized that the Vietnam Climate Innovation Center (VCIC) could help it realize its aspirations and in mid-2017 was one of 15 winning entries to receive financial support in the second proof of concept (PoC) competition. As part of a global network across seven countries under the World Bank Group’s Climate Technology Program and supported by the governments of Australia and the United Kingdom, VCIC is breaking new ground in Vietnam by providing financing, mentorship and advisory services to businesses such as Hachi to help tackle climate change.
For Mai and her team, VCIC technical and financial support allowed Hachi to develop a sample 500 square meter farm at Vietnam National University of Agriculture to conduct testing and complete the modelling of solutions for commercialization and up-scaling of research results.
Importantly, VCIC also helped connect Hachi with a client in Australia to build a 4,000sqm high-tech farm in the state of Victoria.
Mai and her Hachi team remain ambitious.
“With VCIC helping to provide a platform to launch from, we are determined to grow further and help feed the market in an environmentally and climate-friendly way,” said Mai.
Hachi plans to rapidly build on the 50 tons of clean vegetables already supplied to Vietnam’s domestic market each month and seek further opportunities abroad with its continually evolving technology.
For Vietnam to achieve its goal of 50 per cent of enterprises applying green production techniques by 2020 and help the country meet its commitment to reduce GHG emissions, more firms will need to follow in the footsteps of trail-blazing start-ups such as Hachi.
“VCIC has helped show us the way forward, now it’s up to other firms to follow,” said Mai.