15:09 | 06/04/2015 Society
(VEN) - At a recent meeting in Hanoi between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand, the two parties committed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in agriculture, particularly with regard to natural rubber. In addition, both nations agreed to share their knowledge and experience in developing public-private partnership (PPP) projects in agriculture.
According to Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat and Thai Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Petipong Pungbun Na Ayudhya, Vietnam and Thailand’s long-term relations have led to important achievements in agriculture, most notably, food security in Southeast Asia, as well as in wider Asia. However, considering the existing potentials and advantages, the two sides need to further promote cooperation in agriculture, and will pay special attention to the planting, processing and trade of rubber.
Minister Pungbun said that Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia had together established a group of rubber planting and exporting countries to enhance their position in the global rubber market.
He also said that Southeast Asia is the largest rubber production center in the world, accounting for about 70 percent of the global rubber output. However, the price of rubber is greatly controlled by countries outside the region. Over the last two years, the price of rubber on the global market has plunged, causing difficulties for the rubber industries in these countries and greatly hurting rubber farmers.
According to Cao Duc Phat, the Vietnam Rubber Group is currently planting more than one million hectares of rubber, and as such Vietnam will be greatly affected by Thailand’s proposal to set up a network of rubber-producing member countries who will fix the price of rubber to ensure the interests of these member countries and rubber farmers.
“We agree that we need joint action to improve the market and help stabilize the livelihoods of rubber farmers. As for Vietnam, we will tighten our relations with Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia to increase our united efforts. The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s officials will get together with our Thai colleagues to recommend sound solutions to positively affect both suppliers and the market to ensure farmers’ interests,” said Cao Duc Phat.
In terms of PPP in agriculture, Cao Duc Phat said Vietnam had closely partnered with businesses including a number of multinational groups such as Unilever, Metro Cash & Carry, and Nestle to exchange PPP plans and action mechanisms. The country has chosen sectors such as tea, coffee, vegetables, and seafood for PPP implementation, which has yielded positive results and has contributed towards the eradication of hunger and poverty reduction among farmers.
“Vietnam is willing to provide Thailand with its initial experience in building and implementing PPP mechanisms in advantageous areas like rice, rubber and seafood,” said Cao Duc Phat.
By Nguyen Tien Dung