Thursday, December 8 2016

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Sustainable farming lagging in central VN

Update: October, 31/2016 - 09:00
Farmers in Tuy An District of central Phú Yên Province harvest vegetables from land that was used to grow rice. The province this year aims to limit to minimum the damages of climate change by turning about 700ha of rice fields into land growing other short-term crops. VNA/VNS Photo Thế Lập – TTXVN
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI – Developing sustainable farming and new-style rural areas should be the ultimate goals of the agricultural sector in the country’s central provinces.

This was the thrust of a recent conference on agricultural and economic development held by the Social and Science Institute of Central Regions (SSICR) for representatives from all central provinces from Thanh Hoá to Bình Thuận.

In 2010, the Government launched the National Target Programme on New Rural Development, which set out criteria for  infrastructure, production, living standards, environment, income, and culture in new-style rural areas.

However, the implementation has been uneven.

According to Bùi Đức Hùng, director of the institute, agricultural production in the regions has so far been focused on boosting productivity. The aspect of  sustainable development, particularly its impact on the environment and society, and the correlation between agricultural development and standard of living did not receive sufficient attention.

The environmental criterion is regarded as one of those hardest to implement. “It was among the three groups of criteria with lowest implementation rates,” Hùng said.

The number of rural communes in the north-central region and south-central region meeting the environmental criteria set forth in the programme accounted for 22 per cent and 32 per cent in 2015, respectively.

“This is quite low compared to the achievements in the Red River Delta and Southeast region, which are 42 per cent and 65 per cent, respectively,” he said.

The performance in clean water access was also poor, with the northcentral region having the lowest percentage of population being able to access clean water.

Participants at the conference also raised grave concern about problems arising in aquaculture, a strong sector of the region.

Although productivity in aquaculture was higher than the national average, risks were high and difficult to predict, they said.

Nguyễn Hoàng Long from the Đà Nẵng’s Institute of Socio-Economic Development Research said the region’s aquaculture was facing a wide range of problems, including overuse of chemical substances and antibiotics, frequent occurrence of pandemics and pollution. These have resulted in a strong drop of productivity and affected farmers’ income, according to Long.

To diminish risks, Phạm Quốc  Trí of the SSICR said local authorities should put in place appropriate irrigation systems to secure safe water resource near breeding areas. They should also encourage farming households to allocate one to two hectares for treatment of water before and after growing and harvesting.

However, he suggested that they "give careful thought to balance between cost, benefit and applicability before spending budgets on building irrigation works.”

Nguyễn Hoàng Yến of the same institute mentioned the shortcomings in environmental protection and safe water supply.

According to Yến, the policy of mobilising resources from private sectors and communities in this area was set forth in the national programme on new rural development. However, the result was modest due to bad management during implementation.

To tackle the problem, she said it was necessary to clearly define responsibilities and tasks for every party to avoid overlapping management. There should also be inter-sector and inter-region co-operation mechanisms and community-based management mechanisms to ensure efficient use of natural resources.

“Every economic sector should be encouraged to offer environment-related services such as waste collecting, transporting, recycling and treatment by offering favourable policies and legal frameworks,” Yến said. VNS

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