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Restructuring agricultural sector critical:conference

Update: May, 28/2016 - 10:54
Agricultural technologies could firstly be applied in the production of coffee, rice, pepper and seafood, Tuan said. — VNA/VNS Photo Ho Cau

Viet Nam News HÀ NỘI – Restructuring the agricultural sector to improve quality and promote co-ordination between farmers and firms is critical for the sustainable development of the sector amid unpredictable movements in the global market, members of a conference said yesterday.

At the Việt Nam Agriculture Outlook conference held by the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD), in collaboration with the National Assembly Office, experts said that adopting agricultural technology to improve product quality would enable the agricultural sector to confront external shocks like the impacts of climate change or exchange rate policies.

This requires the engagement of firms and a link with farmers to bring forth technologies in agricultural production, thereby enabling the creation of competitive products, said institute Director Đỗ Anh Tuấn.

Agricultural technologies could firstly be applied in the production of coffee, rice, pepper and seafood, Tuấn said.

After struggling in 2015 with falling export revenues, the agricultural sector saw improvements in the first five months of this year.

Still, Tuấn said that the recovery would be threatened by the consequences of natural disasters and disease for the remainder of the year – obstacles the sector must prepare for and overcome to boost supplies and ensure food hygiene and safety, one of the most concerning issues today.

Lê Văn Bình, Deputy Director of the National Assembly Office’s Department of Economic Affairs, said that while new-generation free trade agreements were creating opportunities for the Vietnamese agricultural sector to expand its reach in the global market, improving product quality to meet the requirements of importing markets had become a prerequisite.

Bình said policies should be created to encourage private investment in agricultural production technologies to boost product competitiveness.

JongHa Bae, FAO representative in Việt Nam, said the country should increase investment in rural infrastructure, develop geographical indications for quality products and boost farmers’ adaptability in the integration process.

According to IPSARD, agricultural exports, besides traditional markets, should focus on expanding to new markets to avoid dependence on a single market.

In addition, the association said the Government should hasten the restructuring of the farming sector, tighten management of smuggling and trade fraud, and enact flexible exchange rate policies to support exports.

Currently, Việt Nam’s agricultural export revenue is at about US$30 billion, while the global revenue is estimated to be $15 trillion.

Joint force

The capital city and 13 localities in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta region will foster co-operation in the agricultural sector, following an agreement inked between the Southwestern Steering Committee and the Hà Nội People’s Committee on Thursday.

The agreement will also facilitate co-ordination among the above-mentioned cities and provinces in ensuring good supply and improving product quality.

It will also create favourable conditions for enterprises in these localities to provide the Hà Nội-based distributing channels with their agricultural goods in a move to establish an effective agro-product chain in the long-term.

The Southwestern Steering Committee represents 13 provinces and cities in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta region, including Long An, Tiền Giang, Đồng Tháp, Vĩnh Long, Trà Vinh, Hậu Giang, Sóc Trăng, Bến Tre, An Giang, Kiên Giang, Bạc Liêu, Cà Mau and Cần Thơ. — VNS

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