Minister: Vietnam must cut pesticide use

15:38 | 18/06/2018 Society

(VEN) - Minimizing the use of pesticides is essential for Vietnam to reach cleaner agricultural production. Vietnam Economic News’ Nguyen Hanh spoke with Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong about this issue.

minister vietnam must cut pesticide use
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong

Could you tell us about the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s plant protection plans?

Agriculture plays a very important role in Vietnam. With its policy and policy implementation solutions, Vietnam has developed its agriculture from a system that only meets the domestic market’s food demand and partially satisfies export demand to a sector capable of high-grade commodity production and participation in the global food chain. This transformation requires the sector to meet stricter quality and development standards. Therefore, quarantine and plant protection need to be well planned in accordance with development demands and to improve Vietnam agriculture’s competitiveness in the context of international integration.

Some importers return Vietnamese shipments or warn about pesticide residues. What measures should Vietnam take to prevent this?

In general, Vietnam’s agricultural sector has made many efforts and its products have met domestic market and export demands. However, its production scale remains small and management remains partially inconsistent. This explains why the sector has leading product groups, which bring in export revenues of more than US$1 billion each, while at the same time facing the problem of substandard products. Fixing this problem needs the involvement of the whole political system and relevant ministries. Vietnam will promote production chains and development of plant and animal species, considering business the core in cooperation with cooperatives of the new type. State management, coordination between producers and processors, and trade organizations should be part of a complete chain to balance and harmonize production, distribution and sales, and ensure stable product quality.

How will pesticides be managed?

Plant protection and pesticide use control is a top priority to ensure agricultural product quality and output. The agricultural sector is pursuing export development and provision of safe products for the 93-million people domestic market. State management must be strict. Each year, Vietnam uses about 100,000 tonnes of pesticides in agricultural production. This amount must be reduced immediately. It is necessary to reduce pesticides of toxic origin, especially herbicides because herbicides account for a large part of the 100,000 tonnes of annually used pesticides. It is also necessary to minimize the use of old pesticides and those that are not environmentally friendly.

Most pesticides used in Vietnam are imported, so it is important to control pesticide imports. Relevant authorities and anti-smuggling and anti-counterfeit goods forces will work closely with localities to control illegal pesticide imports through border crossings.

The state should manage pesticides through local plant protection departments and strengthen communication and education to raise farmer awareness of pesticide use.

Nguyen Hanh