Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường on Wednesday met the Netherlands’ visiting deputy agriculture minister Marjolijn Sonnema to discuss co-operation opportunities between the two countries.
Cường said it was a good decision for the two countries to have become strategic economic development partners in 2014. The focus of bilateral co-operation on selection of food and nutritional security is in line with the goals, potential and strength of both nations, he added.
Praising agricultural development in the Netherlands, the minister said that though the country is only as big as Mekong Delta, with a total area of 4 million sq km, it has become a major exporter of agricultural products. The Netherlands is known world over for its tulips, milk and potatoes.
At the meeting, Thái Hương, chairwoman of TH Milk Food Joint Stock Company, said her group has invested in a 3,000-hectare hi-tech agricultural project in the northern Thái Bình Province.
She expressed hope that Sonnema would introduce potential partners to TH group so that they could co-operate in vegetable seed production for export as well as to meet local demand, especially potatoes. “Việt Nam imports a large quantity of potato seeds every year. TH hopes to co-operate with the Netherlands to produce the seed, thus helping us reduce imports,” Hương, said.
The group has imported aqua technologies for wastewater treatment from the Netherlands for dairy farming – it has around 45,000 cows in the central Nghệ An Province.
For her part, Sonnema promised to help connect firms from both countries so as to boost ties.
On the same day, she visited a potato field of a project carrying out trials on varieties of Dutch potatoes in Bắc Ninh Province.
’Growing out of poverty with potato’ is the five-year PPP (Public Private Partnership) project taking place in the 2014-19 period between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and a number of Dutch and Vietnamese enterprises.
Following two years of implementation, two varieties of Dutch potatoes – Markies and Rosagold – have proven to improve Vietnamese farmers’ income and won consumers’ favour in terms of taste and consumption.
Some 950 farmers - 70 per cent of whom are women - received training in potato production. Some 350 supply contracts were signed between the farmers and traders.
Speaking at the event, Sonnema expressed the Netherlands’ willingness to share agricultural experiences and resources with Việt Nam.
“As one of the world’s largest agricultural manufacturers, the Netherlands hopes that our expertise will help Việt Nam in enhancing food security, promoting sustainable agricultural production, increasing farmers’ income and improving their livelihoods,” she said.
Nguyễn Thị Bình, head of a potato production team in Đồng Nguyên Ward, said the Dutch varieties have helped increase local farmers’ income by 3-4 times compared to growing rice.
The European nation has supported Việt Nam in technology transfer, especially in vegetable and fruit growing, breeding and aquaculture, as well as human resources training in the agriculture sector. It has also played an important role in helping the country respond effectively to climate change in the Mekong Delta region. — VNS