Viet Nam News
Nguyễn Xuân Cường, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, talks to Nông thôn Ngày nay (Countryside Today) about plans to increase exports of agro-products.
What were the agriculture sector’s top achievements in the first half of 2017?
In 2017, the agriculture sector will continue to face two major challenges. They are the impacts of the climate change and fierce market competition.
However, with close guidance from the Party and Government, together with active support from many public and social organisations as well as farmers’ efforts in the course of restructuring our primary industry, we have overcome many challenges and achieved successes.
In the first half of this year, notable achievements have been recorded. At the onset of the year, the Government set a target for the sector to achieve a 3.05 per cent growth rate in 2017. However, in the first half of the year, we have already achieved 2.65 per cent.
Regarding exports, we have already earned US$17.1 billion in the first two quarters.
Meanwhile, in building new rural area, in the same period, some 30.76 per cent of communes nationwide had achieved all the targets set in the campaign, exceeding the target of 30 per cent.
What will the ministry do to achieve the growth rate of 3.05 per cent for the whole year?
Based on lessons learned in the first two quarters, we have identified the two most important activities to focus our efforts on, namely: to reorganise our production towards large-scale and concentrated production and to expand our markets.
In addition, we have also identified some solutions from now till the end of the year.
Of course, to ensure that the plans are achieved, we need strong support from all agencies from the central level down to localities as well as commodity associations. Without their support, I don’t think we will achieve our targets.
Can you further clarify what the ministry will do to achieve the targets?
In the second half of 2017, we’ll focus on the processing sector. To do this, we have already worked with the Ministry of Planning and Investment on completing Decree 210 on encouraging enterprises to invest in agriculture and rural areas and to act as a driving force in agricultural production and processing. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture has worked with local associations to develop both domestic markets and foreign markets aiming to earn $33 billion in agro exports. More importantly, we want to increase the value added to our agriculture products and farmers’ income. We believe that if this target is achieved, the problem of “having a bumper crop but the price plummets” will be eliminated.
To achieve these targets, we have also identified the importance of the information analysis and market forecast, particularly in key markets, like the US, Japan, Europe, China and others.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) will continue to conduct bilateral negotiations with foreign countries to enlarge our export markets. For example, we’ll negotiate with Australia for the export of raw shrimps; Myanmar for poultry eggs; pork, dairy and dairy products to China and others.
Last but not least, the MARD will try to put the proposal on developing the Việt Nam Rice Trademark from now till 2020 with a vision to 2030. At the same time we’ll soon debut a programme on trademarks for some key Vietnamese agro-products – tea, coffee, mangoes, dragon fruits and Tra fish with geographic indications attached to the products by the year 2020.
What about our meat exports?
I have to confess that meat export is a tough issue as it requires very strict quarantine regulations.
We hope, in the near future we’ll complete negotiations to export chicken to some foreign markets, including Japan.
On July 1st we held a workshop with representatives from meat exporters, distributors and enterprises to discuss meat products.
After that workshop, we also plan to organise a workshop on pork exports. We hope, when we’re able to expand our pork export market, our husbandry industry, in general, will develop sustainably._VNS