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State farms lose land to encroachment

Update: December, 17/2012 - 09:39

HA NOI (VNS)— State agricultural and forestry lands are poorly managed, with substantial losses each year to encroachment from neighbouring farms, according to participants in a workshop held here on Thursday.

Managers of State farms and forest plantations and leaders from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) told the workshop that few lessons have been drawn in a decade of restructuring in the State agricultural sector.

The director of registration and statistics of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment's General Department of Land Administration, Tran Hung Phi, conceded that disputes over land ownership and unlawful land leases were retarding reform efforts. He pointed to such root causes as inaccurate maps that have resulted in overlapping land claims among households and enterprises.

"These problems have existed for many years, but no effective solutions have been found," said Phi.

In the Central Highlands, he said, the situation was somewhat different. "The main cause of problems there is loose land management by local authorities, including management of State farms. Large areas of land allocated to these farms have been encroached upon by local inhabitants," Phi said.

According to statistics, land of 54 State farms with a total area of more than 11,000ha have seen encroachment.

The deputy director of MARD's Agriculture Enterprises Renovation and Management Committee, Dinh Quang Tuan, said that State enterprises have been allocated land but not been granted the land use rights.

"This is the root cause of the problem," Tuan said.

In addition, they have been assigned to manage very large acreages, but didn't have sufficient capital for proper production, he said.

The deputy director of the policy department from the Viet Nam Forestry Administration, Le Van Bach, said that ineffective use of State forest lands was due to poor inventories of forest lands. This has led to the loss of over 100,000ha of forests annually and caused over half of all State forestry enterprises to operate at a loss.

Phi urged MARD and its affiliated agencies to review land use by each State enterprise and then regulate SOEs' agricultural land use in each province and city.

"We should dissolve State farms which are operating at a loss," he said. "For State farms located in remote or border areas, we should turn them into public farms so that they can receive allocations from the State budget to help them develop, since one of their important secondary functions is to ensure national security and defence in border areas".

He also recommended that the Government draw lessons from State farms that have been equitised.

"For State farms that have had land revoked, it is imperative that the farms hand the land over to provincial or municipal People's Committees so they can make out plans for other uses of the land," Phi said.

There are about 664 State farms and forestry enterprises nationwide, managing about 6.8 million hectares, of which 315,000ha is currently fallow, according to the workshop. — VNS

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