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MARD to raise forest planter incomes

Update: December, 02/2015 - 09:10
Farmers exploit forest in Thanh Hoa District, Long An Province. The forestry sector has a high export turnover of US$3.5-4 billion per year but forest planters still earn a low income. — Photo danviet.vn

HA NOI (VNS) — The forestry sector has a high export turnover of US$3.5-4 billion per year but forest planters still earn a low income, reported the Nong Thon Ngay Nay (Countryside Today).

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has drawn out a restructuring plan for the forestry sector, with one of the targets aiming to increase forest planters' income.

The income increase will help forest planters be fully devoted to their job, MARD's officials told the newspaper.

The restructuring project sets targets of increasing production value to 4-4.5 per cent annually, providing timber for domestic and export demands, creating jobs, improving income, contributing to hunger eradication, poverty reduction and environmental protection.

The total area of forest will reach 16.5 million ha by 2020, the plan noted.

According to MARD Forestry General Department statistics, the sector's production value has had a growth rate of 6.7 per cent (in period of 2013-15) as compared to 5.3 per cent of the period of 2010-12.

Notably, the sector had a growth rate of 7.8 per cent in September. This was the highest growth rate since 2010. The sector plants 200,000ha of forest every year.

However, the forestry economy makes up a little more than 3 per cent of the total agricultural production sector, said the department.

In recent years forest area has been increasing but the forests were scattering. Meanwhile, most natural forests have small trees which have low economic value.

The Department's deputy head Nguyen Ba Ngai said at present, annual income from forestry was about VND7-8 million ($320-360) per ha, which caused difficulties for forest planters.

"At present, income from forestry product is just 25 per cent of the total income of farmers", said Ngai, adding that the forestry sector had not been developed due to several reasons including small-scale production, lack of processing industry, modest State investment, outdated technologies, low quality saplings, and divided markets.

Vo Truong Thanh, Chairman of Management Board of Truong Thanh Group, who has long been involved in forest planting, said one of the biggest challenges for forest planters was capital investment.

At present, banks did not accept forest land as mortgage for loans, said Thanh

The Government should offered planters preferential loans so they can focus on forest development, he said. — VNS

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