PM urges shift in mindset of agricultural sector

09:01 | 02/01/2019 Economy- Society

(VEN) - Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is urging Vietnam’s agricultural sector to switch from the mindset of agricultural production to one of agricultural economy and international integration in order to create a revolution in the development of agriculture, farmers and rural areas.

pm urges shift in mindset of agricultural sector
A national teleconference in Hanoi on November 27 reviewing the 10-year implementation of Resolution 26-NQ/TW on agriculture, farmers and rural areas adopted at the seventh plenum of the 10th Party Central Committee

Speaking in Hanoi on November 27 at a national teleconference reviewing the 10-year implementation of Resolution 26-NQ/TW on agriculture, farmers and rural areas, PM Phuc underlined the need to identify opportunities, challenges and limitations and develop strategic orientations for the sector in order to spur its progress, especially in the context of the fourth industrial revolution.

Overcoming the problems in agriculture is a task for the entire political system, PM Phuc said, asking ministries, agencies and localities to develop solutions to deal with small-scale production and meet new requirements of agricultural and rural development. He pointed out a list of tasks such as improving mechanisms, policies and laws and removing difficulties facing investors and businesses.

Agricultural production should go hand in hand with market development and capital supply, PM Phuc said, requesting ministries and agencies to pay more attention to export markets and the banking system to set forth necessary mechanisms to serve agriculture, farmers and rural areas.

Bottlenecks

In the decade since implementation of Resolution 26-NQ/TW, one hectare of cultivated land has come to yield over VND90 million in crops compared to just over VND44 million eight years ago. Exports of agro-forestry-fishery products totaled US$36.5 billion in 2017, and are expected to exceed US$40 billion this year. Per capita income in rural areas increased from about VND9 million in 2008 to VND32 million in 2017, while the poverty rate declined by 1.5 percent per year. The reviewed period also saw a strong increase in the number of farms and new-style cooperatives.

In addition to positive results, farming in Vietnam faces difficulties and challenges, such as lack of linkages, vulnerability to market fluctuations, low product quality and competitiveness.

Le Minh Hoan, secretary of the Dong Thap Provincial Party Committee, fingered two weaknesses of the agricultural sector in particular - low quality and high production costs, saying these had to be addressed by the cooperative economic model.

Vo Quan Huy, director of the Huy Long An Co., Ltd., pointed out the bottlenecks in the development of agriculture, farmers and rural areas, including inconsistent land policies, high logistics costs, and lack of capital. He also noted the need to seek additional markets for agricultural products and develop export standards.

Changing thinking

Thao Xuan Sung, chairman of the Vietnam Farmers’ Union (VNFU) Central Committee, said that given Vietnam’s growing international economic integration, each small farming households cannot participate in value chains.

Production must shift from small-sized to large-sized farming households, and it is necessary to promote an effective cooperative economy with tight linkages among farming households.

Vietnam is involved in 16 free trade agreements, of which 10 have come into force, creating a large market for the country’s agricultural products. With its extensive commitments, free trade agreements will have a strong impact on the Vietnamese economy in general and the agricultural sector in particular.

To make the most of opportunities provided by free trade agreements, it is necessary to change awareness and thinking in terms of integration. In addition, strengthening institutional reform, facilitating the business and investment environment, and complying with commitments to promote the country’s potential are underlined.

Nguyen Hanh