Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Delegates at a seminar in HCM City yesterday called for developing close links between stakeholders in the agricultural production chain to improve the sector’s competitiveness globally.
Dr Lê Văn Bảnh, head of the Department of Agro, Forestry and Seafood Processing and Salt Production, said linkages in agricultural production are necessary to ensure quality products and traceability.
Despite calls to develop links between farmers and businesses for many years, they remain tenuous, he said.
In rice production, for instance, the links between farmers and businesses in the large-scale rice field model remain modest five years after it was first adopted, he said.
Thus, the area under the model is only 500,000ha out of the country’s total of 7.2 million hectares of cultivable land, he pointed out.
Many farmers sign contracts with businesses, who provide them with inputs, but after the harvest they flout the contracts and sell to other businesses who offer them higher prices, Bùi Thị Quy, general director of Vạn Phát Wine Company in Phú Yên, which has a sugar factory, said.
It is very hard for companies to develop close linkages with farmers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta since the latter only sell their sugarcane to traders, not directly to factories, she said.
Dr Võ Tòng Xuân, an agricultural expert, said the Government has policies to encourage linkages in agricultural production but they have shortcomings, including a lack of regulations to deal with farmers or businesses violating contracts.
The Government should review them and resolve the shortcomings, he said.
Bảnh said agricultural production and co-operatives must be restructured with better links between farmers and businesses to improve efficiency.
He called on businesses to invest more in processing technologies to add value to farm produce.
Xuân said farmers need to apply good agricultural practices to sustain quality.
Companies should be more active in expanding their markets, and develop close linkages with farmers to create a stable supply source for themselves, he said.
Trần Văn Làm of the Việt Nam Farmers’ Union said with deeper international integration Vietnamese farm produce is expected to encounter fierce competition in both the domestic and export markets.
The agricultural sector must seek ways to improve product quality and reduce production costs to bolster its competitiveness, he added. — VNS