A conference on cooperatives in the agriculture sector was held on May 20 in Hanoi to review their development and plan ways to improve their effectiveness.
The event was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance (VCA) and the World Bank.
Addressing the conference, MARD Minister Cao Duc Phat said that the key solution to develop business cooperatives in the sector is not to increase their number, but to find ways to efficiently manage them depending on their areas of production - for example, cultivation, breeding, aquaculture or forestry - and to provide them with necessary support.
Proper solutions are also needed to engage farmers in value chain production which facilitates more competitive agriculture, the minister added, stressing that businesses should not work independently of thousands of farmers.
He hoped that experience from other countries would help create a better linkage between businesses and farmers.
Ethel Sennhauser, Director of Agriculture Global Practice at the World Bank, underscored the importance of cooperative business in agriculture believed to help farmers access lowered priced supplies of input materials, work in larger scale production and distribute farming products.
During ten sessions of the conference, experts from Colombia, Indonesia and the Philippines gave presentations on the challenges they have overcome in developing their farmer groups and cooperatives. They discussed how cooperatives get access to financial sources, how to operate coffee and aquaculture cooperatives, and governmental support on offer to the groups and cooperatives.
Restructuring agricultural production was determined by the Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung as one of two pillars of key agricultural reform, which focuses on enhancing the effectiveness of cooperatives and other forms of cooperative businesses.