Nguyen Quoc Cuong, chairman of the Viet Nam Farmers Union, tells Nong Thon Ngay Nay (Countryside Today) about the role of farmers in transforming Viet Nam into a modern, industrial nation.
Will you please further elaborate on Vietnamese farmers' place in the national campaign to build infrastructure for rural areas?
The image of Vietnamese farmers in this period of renewal is in line with the Party and Government's policies in the agricultural field.
I should say, our country's renewal process started with agriculture, the country's primary industry. In that process, farmers are the main contributors to innovation and success. After two years implementing the renewal campaign, our poor country, frequently hit by hunger and poverty, for the first time in 1989 became a rice exporter.
Since then, in addition to rice, Viet Nam has also become a major exporter of coffee, pepper, cashew nuts, aqua products and others.
In 2014 alone, we earned US$31 billion in export turnover from aqua products.
In short, I can say our farmers are a mainstay in the national fight against poverty and hunger, as well as in bringing new, prosperous lives to our countryside.
Will you please tell us about the Viet Nam Farmers' Union's new farmer model?
Resolution 26 from the 10th tenure of the Party Central Committee defined objectives, tasks and measures to sustainably develop farming communities and rural areas in the context of our economy, in the process of deepening international integration.
In that document, the Party said farmers and rural areas are an important part of the nation's strategy for industrialisation and modernisation, as well as in national construction and defence.
In short, the resolution's key objective was to develop modern agricultural methods, in which farmers were the key players in building a new rural areas.
Whether we succeed or not depends heavily on agriculture and rural areas.
In my opinion, the new model farmer should possess five main characteristics. They are as follows.
First is the new ideology. Farmers should change their production methods to incorporate value chains and international integration.
Second is the new awareness. Farmers are the masters, and they should always be pro-active in applying new technology in production and marketing.
Third is the practice of a new cultural lifestyle.
Fourth is to enhance the fine cultural traditions of the Vietnamese nation in a creative and innovative manner.
The last point is the resolute commitment to getting rid of poverty and becoming wealthy.
In my opinion the farmer should also have a wealth of knowledge about agricultural practices, and the science and technology that must be applied in agricultural production. He or she must be hard-working and willing to co-operate. And last but not least is their awareness about environment protection. — VNS