|Customers flock to a fruit stall in northern Thanh Hoa Province's Trieu Son District. Experts say measures to improve the quality and hygiene of food are needed to help Viet Nam join regional and international supply chains. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HA NOI (VNS)— Weak supply chains and unreliable products have prevented the agriculture sector from growing in recent years, said Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu at a forum in Ha Noi on Thursday.
"Agriculture creates employment for about 70 per cent of Viet Nam's workforce, contributing to the country's efforts to eliminate hunger and poverty," Thu said. "However, in recent years, growth and productivity have slowed."
At the forum, held by MARD, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the French Development Agency, domestic and international experts recommended policies to help Viet Nam promote the participation of localities, organisations and enterprises in both regional and global supply chains.
Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, director of MARD's Centre for Agriculture Policy Consultancy, said that Viet Nam should build specialised zones for plants and livestock, expand production forests and increase the value of forestry products.
Tuan also urged more investment in the fishery sector and irrigation system.
"We need to control the quality and hygiene of food, ensure food security, join bilateral agreements and ensure that trade laws and regulations are in accordance with those of the World Trade Organisation as well as international standards," he said.
Giovanni Capannelli, ADB's Special Adviser to the Dean, said that Viet Nam was predicted to gain the highest growth rate by 2030 among the CLMV group (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam).
Consequently, he pointed out, agriculture policy needed to focus on boosting productivity, enhancing supply chain management and increasing investment for research and development, agriculture promotion and rural infrastructure.
Capannelli also said it was necessary to improve the financial policy for agricultural enterprises, enhance the competitiveness of the breeding industry and improve food safety standards.
He added that the four countries would produce 12 reports about national policies and other technical manuals to enhance agricultural productivity this year.
U Tin Htut Oo, Chairman of the National Economic and Social Advisory Council of Myanmar, said that when it came to policy making, CLMV countries were stuck in the mindset of the 1968 Green Revolution, which focused simply on boosting productivity.
The region needed to adopt a new approach to agricultural development that would ensure food security, environmental sustainability and economic development opportunities, he said. — VNS