The persistence of unsustainable farming practices has contributed to resource degradation and lagging agricultural productivity in Vietnam.
Purpose-built digital innovation provides a different path forward, and ListenField is one of the companies leading the charge.
“Our mission is to transform agriculture for the benefit of all stakeholders,” says ListenField co-founder Rassarin Chinnachodteeranun. She launched the company in 2017 with Kiyoshi Honda, a professor at Chubu University in Japan.
The company’s patent-backed “Farm AI mobile” app, which is connected to a SaaS dashboard for farm management, combines deep crop modeling expertise, patented analytics, advanced AI and machine learning capabilities to to help farmers and agricultural communities monitor fields, reduce operational costs and carbon footprints, and stabilize outputs.
Today, more than 30,000 farmers in Thailand, Japan, and the USA use ListenField’s technology – and the company is currently growing at 100% annually in those markets.
ListenField has received several innovation awards, including the “Sustainable Development, SEED Award” from the UNDP and the “R&D Award 2019” from the Japanese Society of Agricultural Information.
And earlier this year, the company confirmed it had raised an undisclosed sum of several million dollars from marquee investors and from Kubota – one of the world’s largest agricultural equipment providers and the top tractor supplier in Vietnam.
The GRAFT Challenge Vietnam selection team added ListenField to its shortlist earlier this year as it searched for agritech solutions for some of the most pressing challenges facing the Vietnamese agricultural sector.
These challenges include the imminent need to strengthen contract management capabilities and manage climate-driven production risks on Vietnamese farms.
In August, ListenField was selected to the GRAFT Challenge’s final cohort. This gave the company an opportunity to build upon the momentum of a pilot program Listenfield had taken part in in 2019 a pilot program with the International Finance Corporation, during which the company worked with five smallholder farmer cooperatives in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.
Initial objectives for ListenField in the GRAFT Challenge included clarifying viable market entry points and refining product-market fit in key crop value chains.
After a period of research and exploration, GRAFT and ListenField identified Vietnam rice, banana, corn, sugar, and cassava farms as the ideal beneficiaries of ListenField’s platform.
Now, advisors from the Vietnam Digital Agriculture Association (VIDA) and the Mekong Business Initiative Challenges (MBI) – personnel who are part of the GRAFT team – are leading the search for local partners to help ListenField facilitate user-experience trials on farms across the country.
“We are looking to develop strong partnerships with agricultural businesses that want to improve their productivity while reducing their operational costs,” says Chinnachodterranun.
Other potential partners for ListenField include Vietnam agri food regulatory bodies, key industry associations, farming communities and crop production cooperatives, as well as companies that manage raw material on farms and those that manage contract farmers.
Meanwhile, ListenField intends to utilize its partnership with Kubota to great effect as the Challenge progresses; ListenField’s software will optimize the efficiencies of Kubota’s tractors and other hardware, bringing enhanced capabilities to Vietnamese farms.
“We are aiming to help cut operating costs [for agricultural businesses] with our multispectral vision and our proprietary technology by not less than 20% in the first year,” Chinnachodteeranun says. “And we will keep improving our technology and partnerships to make sure that we bring real value to our customers in Vietnam.”
Also within the next year, ListenField wants to establish a local operations team and conduct several proof-of-concept studies with commercial players – moves which will help the company gain solid footing in Vietnam.
“The ListenField team has shown commitment and adaptability in their path to scale in Vietnam. Leading contract producers, processors, and exporters have taken great interest in their solution, and ListenField has listened closely to their needs in building out their local product suite and commercial trial offering. We are excited to continue to support their journey to build more productive, resilient, and connected farming communities in Vietnam and beyond.
If you or any entities in your networks are interested in partnering with ListenField on its journey to scale up in Vietnam, contact the GRAFT team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GRAFT is sponsored by Australia’s Aus4Innovation program to contribute to promoting the testing of new models in public-private partnerships, and strengthen Vietnam’s capacity in digital, scenario building, commercialization, and innovation policy. GRAFT Challenge Vietnam 2021 is an initiative designed by Australian innovation agency Beanstalk in partnership with the Vietnam Digital Agriculture Association (VIDA), the Vietnam National Supporting Center for Youth’s Start-up (SYS), and Mekong Business Initiative for Innovation Challenges (MBIIC).
About Aus4Innovation: Aus4Innovation is the AUD 13.5 million, four-year (2018-2022) flagship program to help strengthen the Vietnamese innovation system and prepare for Vietnam’s economic and digital future. It is funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), managed by the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in strategic collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam (MoST)./.
For program enquiries, contact GRAFT at email@example.com
Contacts for media enquiries:
- Regional Contact: Mr. Jason Lusk – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vietnam Contact: Ms. Bao Linh – Email: email@example.com (+84-0338021140) (for Vietnamese language PR only)