An agricultural area in the Central Highlands province of Lâm Đồng. The province has more than 278,100 hectares of cultivation area. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngọc Hà
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has urged Việt Nam's agricultural sector to improve its production quality and expand markets to other countries, especially the EU, next year.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development held an online conference in Hà Nội on Monday with localities to discuss 2020 plans for the sector.
Facing trade wars and tightened regulations set by foreign markets, Việt Nam has been still able to record a US$41.3 billion turnover for agricultural and aqua-cultural products, rising 3.5 per cent compared to 2018, according to the report delivered at the conference.
Meanwhile, prices of these products were reduced by between 10 and 15 per cent.
Three of the four main goals have been achieved including export turnover, forestry coverage of 41.85 per cent and the ratio of new rural area-certified communes of 54 per cent.
This year has been difficult for the livestock industry due to continuous diseases which have caused unprecedented consequences, said minister Nguyễn Xuân Cường.
Until November, African swine fever saw 5.9 million pigs slaughtered. Hà Nội lost 30 per cent of its herd which is equivalent to VNĐ1 trillion ($43.1 million).
The agriculture minister also admitted several shortcomings that hamper the growth of the sector and need to be addressed soon.
The pace of agricultural restructuring and new rural area building remain uneven between localities, the slow progress in resolving issues related to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and regaining the trust of the European Union, the risks of diseases affecting livestock and crops, and food hygiene, continue to haunt the sector in 2019, Cường said.
Against all odds, more than 2,700 new agricultural enterprises was established in 2019, increasing 25.3 per cent compared to 2018 and increasing the total number of agricultural businesses to 12,581.
Seventeen major agricultural projects came into operation in 2019 with the total funding of more than VNĐ20 trillion ($862.3 million), thanks to improvements in the investment environment which created motivation for investors to join the industry.
The sector’s trade surplus reached a record $9.9 billion, increasing 14 per cent compared to last year. Ten commodities with export turnover of more than $1 billion continued to be maintained, including five product groups earning $3 billion such as shrimp, coffee and cashew nuts.
PM Phúc hailed the sector for its achievements in 2019 despite difficult conditions, saying it needs to continue to respond to climate change, apply technology in agricultural production and improve quality of human resources.
He asked the ministry to build a modern, globally-integrated and sustainable agricultural sector along with new rural areas.
“To achieve the target of 2.8 to 3 per cent of GDP growth, the sector should take advantage of tropical agriculture and develop high-quality specialised areas with products meeting food safety requirements,” he said.
Agriculture should be strongly connected with the processing industry, preservation, markets, exports and global value chains, he added.
Minister Cường said in 2020, the ministry expects to accelerate the connection between raw material areas with food processing factories and logistics systems to expand export markets and link with the global value chain.
The ministry plans to choose "locomotive" enterprises which possess strong financial and technical capacity and market accessibility to efficiently lead value chains.
The legislative reform needs to be continued to cut red tape and offer assistance policies and proper legal frameworks to promote land accumulation for large-scale, industrial agricultural production.
The Government expects to submit the amended land law to the National Assembly for approval in 2020 to achieve this goal, he said.
Cường stressed the significance of 2020 as the due date of the five-year plan from 2016 to 2020 which aims to boost the sector’s GDP growth from 2.8 to 3 per cent and the export turnover of more than $42 billion.
Some 2,000 agricultural cooperatives will be established in 2020. — VNS