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NA hears about negligence in managing forest, farm land

Update: August, 28/2015 - 07:52
An area of Suoi Bac forest was destroyed in Son Hoa District, Phu Yen Province. Poor land management led to the small amount of funds the millions of hectares of forest and farm land contribute to the State budget. — VNA/VNS Photo The Lap

HA NOI (VNS) — There have been serious shortcomings in management of forestry and farming enterprises. So said the national assembly's deputies during a meeting yesterday to review the management of Viet Nam's forest and farming from 2004-2014.

"It broke my heart to learn that there were people in Ba Vi District in Ha Noi who didn't have any forest land to work on so they had to go to China as labourers while the forest land near Ba Vi National Park was managed by individuals or organ-isations from elsewhere," said deputy Chu Son Ha from Ha Noi.

Ha said it was a result of years of negligence in land management in the forestry and farming enterprises.

Of the Viet Nam's total 13 million ha of forest, only 26 per cent was transferred to local residents for the purposes of management and production. There was 2.1 million ha of forest and farm land across the country that still remained under the management of local People's Committees, who did not have the authority or ability to manage the land, said Deputy Do Van Duong from HCM City.

Cao Duc Phat, minister of agriculture and rural development, said that certain forests and lands were too far from local communities or not suitable for agricultural or forest production and therefore must be managed by local People's Committees.

Duong noted that this was illegal and there could be hidden problems, such as who determined if the land was unsuitable for production and who would benefit from the unclaimed land.

Deputies also voiced concerns over poor land management that led to the tiny amount the millions of hectares of forest and farming land contributed to the State's budget.

"A forest enterprise that managed over 4,800 ha of land only contributed VND2.4 billion (US$105,000) to the State's budget, which included the land rent," deputy Nguyen Tien Sinh from Hoa Binh Province said, "What did the State gain from this?"

Deputy Nguyen Thi Kha from the NA Committee for Social Affairs said the management of land in forest and farming enterprises allowed significant waste and incurred massive social cost with the over-exploitation of the country's natural forests.

Nearly 900,000ha of forestry and farming enterprises across the country has been transferred to local residents for management, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) reported. According to the 2004-2014 plans, an additional 400,000ha were to be transferred soon.

Minister Nguyen Minh Quang from the MONRE said there was a need to clearly assign responsibility to individuals and organisations as to who was in charge of land management across the country. — VNS

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