Nguyễn Bích Lâm, Director General of the Government Statistics Office (GSO), talks to Kinh tế Việt Nam & Thế giới (Việt Nam and World Economy) magazine on the need to have more investment in agriculture
What are the major changes the agriculture sector has recorded in the five years spent implementing the proposal to restructure the country’s primary industry?
From 2013-2017, Việt Nam’s agriculture production confronted quite a lot of difficulties due to the negative impacts of climate change, particularly extreme weather phenomena and serious natural calamities, including sea level rise. Việt Nam has also faced challenges in the international market for our agricultural produce and the incident of serious pollution in the central coastal provinces. However, with big efforts exerted by people from all walks of life under the leadership of the Government and the whole political system, we have achieved positive results in restructuring our economy and agricultural production.
In the five years under review, a series of important policies have been introduced to promote the development of key branches in the country’s primary sector – agriculture. For example, the Government has adopted policies to develop the fishery sector, as well as restructuring production of rice and other crops. More importantly, the Government has encouraged more enterprises to invest in rural agriculture while helping farmers and fishermen find people to consume their products. Last but not least, the Government has adopted policies to help farmers cope with climate change and natural calamities, including epidemics.
From 2013 to 2017, the Vietnamese agro-forestry and fishery sector enjoyed an increase of 2.52 per cent per year.
What are the contributions of the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors to our national economy?
These three sectors have served as a catalyst for other economic sectors to raise their productivity. Animal husbandry and aquaculture have become essential inputs in many sectors.
The more these three sectors develop – particularly the aqua-culture sector – the more value added they will generate for our national economy while cutting down on imported materials.
What are the challenges that agriculture, forestry and fisheries have been facing?
Production in these three sectors is still small and scattered, while the introduction of high-technology is limited.
Capital investment in these three sectors is limited while productivity of the labour force is still low. As a consequence, living conditions of farmers, fishermen and other working people are still not up to expectations.
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries still have room for development in order to raise our national economy to a higher plane, yet they have not received due attention.
Does the General Statistics Office have any recommendations to help our primary industry play a bigger role in the national economy?
The first thing I should say is that the National Assembly should revise the 2013 Land Law to erase the land limit and allow farmers to accumulate agricultural areas to start large-scale production. The Government should also revise the credit policy so farmers can take more credit from banks or other financial institutions to expand their production and apply technology in their farming.
The National Assembly will soon adopt legal documents allowing Vietnamese enterprises and FDI enterprises to invest in agricultural production.
Last but not least, the Government should pour more investment funding and resources into major sectors in agriculture, forestry and fisheries. — VNS