Nguyễn Xuân Cường. — Photo dangcongsan.vn
Minister of Agriculture Nguyễn Xuân Cường talks to newspaper Nông thôn Ngày nay (Countryside Today) about the role of enterprises in agriculture restructuring
What are the most outstanding achievements that the agriculture sector has claimed in the 10 years since it began implementing the 7th Party Central Committee’s Resolution on agriculture, farmers and the countryside?
I should say that the resolution of the 10th Party Central Committee has become a real driving force making our nation’s primary industry advance forward.
The resolution has created a turning point in the agriculture sector – a mainstay of the nation. However, here I just want to list the three most important achievements as follows.
First, for the first time we correctly evaluated the farmers’ important role in implementing the Party Central Committee’s Resolution on agriculture development and the course of building new rural areas.
Second, the Party Central Committee’s high acknowledgement of the agriculture sector’s role has served as a catalyst calling on all Vietnamese people and other socio-economic sectors to join hands in building Việt Nam into a prosperous nation.
Third, I should say that in the last decade, Việt Nam’s institutional development has achieved remarkable progress, particularly in the field of legal matters. Many important laws have been enacted. For example, in 2012 the Co-operative Law was adopted; in 2013 the Land Law was enacted and nine other important laws were passed by the National Assembly.
Regarding the program of building new rural areas, we have invested some VNĐ7,300 trillion (US$324.4 billion) in the last seven years, of which 28 per cent came from the State budget.
In short, I could say that our primary industry, agriculture, has gradually become a mainstay in the national economy. Việt Nam ranks 15th among the world’s major agricultural exporters and Vietnamese agro-products are sold in 180 countries world wide.
What’s more important, Vietnamese agro products have won high acclaim from foreign friends far and near. For example, lychee from the northern mountainous province of Bắc Giang and agricultural products from other provinces have sold like hot cakes in foreign markets.
As a result, the farmers’ living conditions have been improved considerably along with their income. By 2017, on an average, income per capita for a farmer was VNĐ32 million per annum, an increase of 3.6 times against the set target.
By 2019, we expect that 50 percent of the communes nationwide will meet the 19 criterion to be recognised as the new rural communes.
What’s Việt Nam plan to modernise its agriculture industry?
In my opinion, the first point and also the most important point, is that we should identify our opportunities and challenges of the last decade. These opportunities and challenges serve as an impetus for us to advance and to integrate internationally.
The second point I want to mention is that the 4.0 technology era will usher in a bright future for the national economy’s development in general, and for our agriculture, our farmers and rural areas to advance in the national course of industrialisation.
However, in this course, we’ll face quite a lot of challenges. The biggest one is how to turn our current small household production scale into big production scale – an essential factor in the course of national industrialisation.
Of course, to achieve such a goal, we’ll have to overcome many challenges. The biggest one is how to re-organise our current household production scale onto a large one.
The other challenge that we’ll have to face is the issue of climate change – the hardest challenge for the agriculture sector.
Furthermore, international integration has also presented us with quite a lot of challenges. If we don’t work out proper plans, it is likely that we’ll be defeated right on our soil. In my opinion, we should immediately define the roles of the farmers, agriculture and the countryside as they are the key elements in the course of national industrialisation.
It is indisputable that in the course of agricultural production in the context of industrialisation, we need to attract more investors in agriculture. Does the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have any plan for that?
It is indisputable, in the course of agricultural restructuring; we need enterprises to act as nucleus. It has been good news that more recently, many enterprises, including big economic groups, have expressed their interest in working with farmers to improve the quality of our farm products. These are the good signs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has issued a series of legal documents, including Decree 57 to replace the Decrees 210 and 98 to encourage more enterprises to invest in agriculture production.
The agriculture sector has set a goal that by 2020, some 15,000 co-operatives will work closely with enterprises in the production and consumption of agricultural products. No doubt, such co-operation will bring benefits to all parties involved. Of course, to do this, we need the political will and support of people from all walks of life as well as the whole political system and enterprises. — VNS