|Phùng Đức Tiến, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. — Photo: danviet.vn|
Phùng Đức Tiến, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, talks to Nông Thôn Ngày Nay (Countryside Today) newspaper on the role played by enterprises in the development of animal husbandry
What are the most salient points in the Law on Animal Husbandry?
The Law on Animal Husbandry was the fourth law adopted by the National Assembly in its recently concluded sixth session. It took the Vietnamese lawmakers more than two years to prepare the law. With its approval, Việt Nam now has four laws on its primary industry – the Law on Cultivation, the Law on Fisheries, the Law on Animal Husbandry and the Law on Forest. The adoption of the Law on Animal Husbandry once again demonstrates that the Government recognises the importance of the animal husbandry sector.
The law has eight chapters with 83 articles. I am confident that when it comes into force, it will serve as an impetus to help Vietnamese animal husbandry fly high.
One of the new points contained in the law is the requirement for humane treatment of animals. Although this idea has been popular in many foreign countries, it is the first time it has been mentioned in a Vietnamese law.
The law also sets a deadline of five years for moving animal husbandry establishments and slaughter houses away from densely populated areas.
How will the law work towards restructuring the agricultural sector in Việt Nam?
Animal husbandry remains a big part of the agriculture sector. Its growth rate is about 4.6 per cent per annum with an annual revenue of almost VNĐ250,000 billion (US$10.75 billion) – accounting for 5 to 6 per cent of the country’s GDP. Each year, Việt Nam produces some 5.4 million tonnes of meat, 10 billion eggs and about 9,000 tonnes of milk. However, there are still a number of challenges to the country’s agriculture development.
I am confident that when the Law on Animal Husbandry comes into force, the animal husbandry sector will be in a good position to develop quickly in terms of both scope and scale.
The law will come into force in January 2019. Do you think that will give households that work in animal husbandry enough time to adapt to the new law?
In the course of designing the law, we embraced the transitional period for households to adapt to the new law. The number of small households engaged in animal rearing in Việt Nam is still high as it is their main source of income. But, in my opinion, when the law comes into force, it will not immediately affect small households.
Many households have already made positive changes, applying advanced technology in rearing livestock.
Some have said our agriculture policies are designed to chase the rest of the market. Do you think the new law will help overcome this weakness?
Under the new law, the MARD and the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) are tasked with coming up with an annual market projection report. In some areas the report must be a monthly projection. So I am confident that when the law comes into force, things will be more positive for our primary industry – agriculture – to catch up internationally. More importantly, the MARD and the MoIT will come up with good projections to help animal husbandry develop.
Do we have any tools to monitor the co-ordination of the MARD and the MoIT to avoid having a bumper crop but low prices?
I think co-operation between the MARD and the MoIT has not been perfect. But what they need right now is a good set of working tools, and these tools are already embedded in the law in both the scope and scale of production. — VNS