10:16 | 11/07/2019 Society
(VEN) - In the first six months of the year, the agricultural sector’s production value grew an estimated 2.7-2.9 percent compared to the same period last year. The highest growth was recorded by the fisheries sector, 6.5 percent, followed by 4.53 percent in forestry and 1.68 percent in farming.
The agricultural sector faced many challenges in the first half of the year, such as unusual weather, saltwater intrusion in the Mekong Delta, drought in the Central Highlands and the South Central Coast, price declines of agro, forestry and fishery products, and the outbreak of African swine fever. The sector had made great efforts to overcome challenges and promote the restructuring of crops and livestock, resulting in quite good achievements.
In January-June, the country planted a total of 5.403 million hectares of rice and harvested more than 3.123 million hectares, an increase of 0.3 percent and 0.7 percent compared to a year ago, respectively. Average productivity reached an estimated 66 quintals per hectare, while output was estimated at 20.6 million tonnes.
According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, the number of cattle farmed nationwide increased by 2.9 percent, while the amount of live cattle sold for meat was about 193,000 tonnes in the reviewed period, up four percent from a year earlier, thanks to robust consumption and high prices. The number of farmed poultry increased by 11-12 percent as there were no epidemics. Due to the outbreak of African swine fever, the total number of farmed pigs decreased by 5.5 percent compared to a year ago, while the amount of live pigs sold for meat was estimated at two million tonnes, a year-on-year drop of five percent.
Regarding forestry, Vietnam planted 105,000ha of forest in the first half of the year, an increase of 0.6 percent compared to the same period last year. About 6.5 million cu.m of wood were exploited from planted forests. In terms of the fishery sector, seafood output was estimated at 3.78 million tonnes, up 6.2 percent over the same period last year, including 1.92 million tonnes from domestic aquaculture.
Total export value of agro, forestry and fishery products in the first six months rose 2.1 percent year-on-year to US$19.75 billion. Of which, the export value of major farming products dropped by 8.8 percent year-on-year, meanwhile value rose 0.7 percent for seafood products and 21.2 percent for forest products.
The structure of commodities for production and exports had changed to increase the quantity of advantageous and high-quality products such as seafood (especially brackish water shrimp), fruits, vegetables, flowers, industrial trees with high value, furniture and forest products.
According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien, the agricultural sector maintained growth in the first half of this year despite difficulties, especially African swine fever which had a heavy impact on the domestic animal husbandry sector. The export target of US$43 billion for this year is high but still achievable.
Completing new rural area criteria
The national target program for new rural area construction has achieved all the targets set for the 2016-2020 period, one year earlier than scheduled. As of June 2019, a total of 4,402 communes nationwide (49.38 percent of the total) satisfied new rural area criteria, an increase of 6.32 percent compared to the end of 2018. In addition, some 76 out of 664 districts received recognition for meeting all criteria. Dong Nai, Nam Dinh, Binh Duong and Da Nang were the first in the country with all communes meeting the 19 criteria set under the program. On average, each commune met 15.43 criteria. Moreover, some 42 of 63 provinces and major cities have approved implementation of the One Commune, One Product (OCOP) program.
Promoting administrative reform
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development now provides 45 online public services at level 3 and level 4, including 15 connected to the national one-stop-shop mechanism. The ministry has also issued its list of some 386 administrative procedures. This year, the ministry has stepped up administrative reform in line with the government’s roadmap. It will push ahead with e-government building at the ministry to make its work more open and transparent, thus facilitating social supervision. The ministry considers administrative reform as one of the important measures for the promotion of the sector’s growth. According to statistics, the ministry has to date reviewed, cut and simplified 84.6 percent of business and investment conditions, and more than 77 percent of goods types subject to specialized inspections.