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Land tenure limits hinder farming

Update: April, 19/2012 - 09:49

 

Agricultural experts demonstrate a machine that transplants rice seedlings in Lien Bat Commune, Ung Hoa District, Ha Noi. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HA NOI — A report from the National Assembly Economic Committee presented at yesterday's NA Standing Committee session said that limiting the land lease period as stated in the Land Law had created hindrances to agriculture and farming production.

It was part of the NA Economic Committee report examining the implementation of government policies and laws related to public investment in agriculture, farming and rural areas during 2006-11, expected to be presented at the NA general session in May.

According to the report, there have not been clear policies on supporting farmers whose land leases are set to expire next year, preventing them from applying new technologies and expanding their production areas, thus lowering the quality of products.

The report also suggested to double public investment for agriculture, farmers and rural areas in 2011-15, but called for solutions to make sure these funds are used more effectively.

Statistics show that Viet Nam invested more than VND432.7 trillion (US$20.7 billion) in agriculture, farming and rural areas over these five years, amounting for nearly 50 per cent of the total of development funds from state budget and government bonds.

Public investment in agriculture has transformed the lives of millions through improving infrastructure, increasing production, creating jobs and implementing poverty reduction programmes, according to NA Economic Committee findings.

However, shortcomings persist, as the Head of the NA Economic Committee Nguyen Van Giau pointed out in the report. The development plan for sub-sectors in agriculture did not meet real conditions on the ground, public money use remains ineffective, production was still being plagued by low-level technology while the attitude of "waiting for public money" persisted amongst a number of poor households and local authorities.

Phung Quoc Hien, head of the Finance and Budget Committee, said more studies must be done to figure out why despite spending nearly half of the State budget on agriculture, improvements have not been made in areas such as raising the quality of labour forces and enhancing the application of technology into production and harvesting.

"In recent years, we've seen that current policies are making people reliant on Government subsidies," Hien said.

Phan Xuan Dung, head of the NA Committee for Science, Technology and Environment, said that many national target programmes in different areas benefited agriculture production, but many overlapped each other, while many localities did not receive the necessary support.

"This has led to some areas receiving things they don't need, such as a commune in need of hospital beds being given new computers," Dung said.

Nguyen Hanh Phuc, NA office chairman, suggested the report to highlight the importance of public investment used toward enhancing production to increase public trust in Government policies.

"We have to make sure that residents are at the heart of public investment and that the money would really benefit them directly," Phuc said.

The NA Economic Committee also called on the NA to push for the issuance or amendment to laws that affect the agriculture sector, better policies to balance out public investment and encourage other sectors to invest in agriculture and rural areas.

On the same day, the NA Standing Committee gave opinions on draft amendments to the Law on Cooperatives. According to the Government report, the country currently has nearly 18,000 cooperatives, nearly 3,800 of which have no operations.

The Law on Cooperatives, issued in 2003, has encouraged new establishments of cooperatives in supporting poor farmers, creating linkages in production and finding output markets.

Investment and Planning Minister Bui Quang Vinh said that the need to amend the Law on Cooperatives came from critical issues such as the continual decrease of the share in GDP (nearly 11 per cent in 1995 to 5.22 per cent in 2010), weak financial management and capacity and co-operatives no longer attracting farmers.

According to Vinh, draft amendments to the Law on Cooperatives aim at solving problems in government subsidies, taxes, land and credit while enhancing the sustainable development of co-operatives. — VNS

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