Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Developing organic agriculture is an urgent task, given the fact that food safety violations, which pose serious threats to the health of the community, occur at an alarming rate, experts said.
However, measures should be adopted to expand this production method, experts noted at a seminar held in Hà Nội on Tuesday, as part of the 16th International Agriculture Trade Fair 2016.
Lê Văn Hưng of the Association of Việt Nam Organic Agriculture said areas under organic farming had been increased from 21,000ha in 2010 to 43,000 at present.
The demand for organic farming products is high in both domestic and foreign markets, such as Japan, Germany, South Korea and the United States, according to Hưng. In addition, prices for organic food are triple or four times higher than normal prices.
According to agricultural experts, while organic agriculture is developing well throughout the world, with revenue projected to approach US$59 billion per year (triple the 2000 figures), Việt Nam is still at its early stage of development.
Organic farming in the country is developing spontaneously, without any plan for creating organic zones. The country is still short of policies to support enterprises and individuals taking part in organic farming, while awareness by the public about organic products and the growing process remains limited.
To promote organic farming to ensure safe foods for the community, participants at the seminar agreed that it was necessary for farmers to undergo training and be given some time to adapt themselves to the standards of the Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practice (VietGap) or Global Good Agricultural Practice (GlobalGap).
In the meantime, the selecting of plants and animals suitable to each region, as well as the issuance of policies to attract more investors to fund organic production, also plays a vital role.
Vũ Trọng Khải, an expert on agricultural economics and rural development said, given the current situation, organic farming did not only improve incomes for farmers, but also ensured enough safe products were grown for domestic consumption and exports.
To help farmers learn organic farming techniques, Khải said, they should adopt VietGap, then GlobalGap and the production management of agricultural value chains.
Based on market demand and production, the government identified key agricultural products for each zone and set planning and linkage between provinces in each agro-ecological zone, he said.
To promote the development of organic farming, Hưng suggested ministries and agencies issue regulations and guidelines for organic production which are suitable to the country’s condition and in line with international norms for products which could be traceable through original labeling.
It is necessary to set up accreditation and certification for organic products, according to him.
Local authorities should set aside land to grow organic cultivation for key products, and offer support to organisations and individuals who engage or invest in organic production, Hưng said. – VNS