09:25 | 09/08/2016 Society
(VEN) - The agricultural sector, the mainstay of the Vietnamese economy, for the first time witnessed a negative growth during the first six months of this year. The downturn has strengthened calls for suitable farmer supporting policy to promote sustainable growth of the agricultural sector and stabilize rural areas.
The gross domestic product of the agriculture, forestry and fishery sector in the first six months of this year decreased by 0.18 percent compared with the same period last year, and its production value reached an estimated VND397.4 trillion, down 0.1 percent (the agricultural production value reached VND297.2 trillion, down 0.7 percent, with cultivation showing a three-percent decline), according to a report from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). The MARD’s Planning Department Director Nguyen Thi Hong attributed this decline to decreases in the cultivated area and output of a variety of crops such as rice, maize, potato, soybean, and sugarcane.
According to leaders of the MARD, the growth was held back by unfavorable weather conditions and natural disasters, including damaging cold, droughts, salinity intrusion, and environmental pollution causing mass fish deaths in the central region.
Vietnam Rural Development Science Association Vice President Dao The Anh said heavy impacts of climate change have reduced a number of rice fields in the Mekong Delta, and droughts have caused serious damage to the Central Highlands. Therefore, agricultural growth could not have been better in the first six months of the year, despite increases in the export of many kinds of fruit, vegetables, and other kinds of products.
Suitable policy needed
According to Dr. Dang Kim Son, Director of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, the Vietnamese agricultural sector in recent years has made certain but unsustainable progress. The agricultural sector is still based on quantitative growth, and it’s time to shift from quantitative growth to qualitative and sustainable development. For this purpose, Son emphasized the importance of three main breakthroughs in terms of land, science and technology, and institution.
Economists think that agricultural policies in Vietnam remain inappropriate and unpractical. The country had not yet paid proper attention to creating suitable farmer support policies in order to promote rapid and sustainable agricultural development, according to Vietnam Gardening Association President Nguyen Duy Luong.
Given big challenges from economic integration and climate change, Vietnam needs to push up appropriate measures in the second half of this year to boost agricultural growth, while at the same time accelerating the National Target Program on New Rural Development.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat:
It is necessary to create favorable conditions for businesses to invest in agriculture and rural development. Administrative reforms are highlighted among needs to create a favorable business environment. Suitable measures are also necessary to help farmers and businesses reduce costs and increase product value.