Prof. Nguyen Huu Thu from the Social Sciences and Humanities Faculty at Ha Noi National University spoke with Ha Noi Moi (New Ha Noi) about the challenges faced by farmers in urban areas, including the lack of employment opportunities.
There was an opinion that people living in urban areas of Ha Noi haven't had many opportunities to find suitable jobs. What do you say about that?
As a matter of discussion, they seem to have a lot of job opportunities due to urbanization, which created new jobs in industrial and service fields. However, in fact, there were not many opportunities for them due to employers' demands, which usually required standards of learning and professional skills. Meanwhile, most farmers in urban areas were traditional farmers without degrees or professional skill registrations.
Our research showed that only 61.1 per cent of labourers had jobs, while the remaining had no job or were waiting for jobs. It is noticeable that many among them (61.1 per cent) had worked only two or three hours daily or had temporary jobs.
Job demands by farmers were very large, however, it is difficult to find opportunities. For example, only 10 among the 2,500 residents of Hai Boi Commune of Dong Anh District had been employed at the Bac Thang Long Industrial Park in their area.
The Government and local authorities have had policies and measures for creating job opportunities for farmers. Do you think these policies have been effective?
The Government and Ha Noi City have issued policies for supporting farmers. For example, Ha Noi has provided priority policies to help farmers obtain jobs in labour export, changing jobs or vocational consulting. In localities, job opportunities for farmers were often dependent upon whether or not local staffs were actively implementing policies and creating jobs for farmers.
I think that this orientation was right, but policy makers sometime only sit inside rooms to draw up policies without knowledge of the real situation on the ground.
How about farmers? Did they really take the initiative to look for jobs?
At the moment, many farmers in urban areas of Ha Noi have changed their minds about actively looking for jobs and are borrowing loans for production, digging fish ponds or opening production workshops.
However, many others haven't changed, due to many reasons, including their family conditions and abilities to receive loans. In fact, there are many people living on compensation. Of course, they can put their savings in the banks, but it won't handle the problem of how to create sustainable jobs.
What are the challenges in creating job for farmers in industrialised areas?
The first difficulty was the aging process in rural areas because, at the moment, the young are going to cities to look for work, while those staying at homes were mainly people 40-45 years and above. At these ages, they are finding it difficult to find jobs at industrial units due to their limits in learning and training.
Secondly, it was traditionally farmers' customs that worked by following habits, as well as their being fearful of changes. So it would be difficult for them to study in vocational training courses. They are also fearful of wasting money in vocational training courses and they did not want to learn or to change. Another problem is that many job seeking farmers only paid attention to simple jobs with immediate money and without requirements of education.
In addition, they may have little chance to access loans due to complicated conditions and procedures by banks. Everybody knows the Government's guideline that enterprises must employ people in areas where land was taken for their businesses. However, many enterprises have parried their responsibilities towards local farmers, while local authorities also haven't paid enough attention to them.
For you, what are appropriate measures for creating sustainable jobs for farmers?
Firstly, the Government should speed up vocational training and job creation projects for farmers. Local authorities should mobilise, organise meetings to implement compensation policies, job creation and to help farmers who approach different loan sources.
Local farmers should change their minds and take the initiative in seeking jobs. They must save themselves, instead of passively waiting for support from the Government. — VNS