Land pooling policies urged

Update: June, 16/2017 - 09:00
The Việt Nam Farms and Agricultural Enterprises Association and the Department for Economic Co-operation and Rural Development held a forum on Thursday in HCM City on the farm economy. — VNS Photo
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY — The Government needs new policies on land pooling and accumulation, as well as credit, to develop the farm economy, delegates said at a forum held in HCM City on Thursday.

The country has 31,717 farms, of which 16,523 are animal breeding farms. Farmland covers a total of 133,826ha, accounting for 0.6 per cent of the country’s total agricultural land.

Nguyễn Văn Tiến, head of the Central Economic Committee’s Agriculture and Rural Department, said although there has been a rapid increase in the number of farms, they are mainly household farms, with an average scale of just 4.54ha.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the farm economy is an advanced form of the household economy, bringing higher economic efficiency since farms are applying new technologies and expanding markets for their products.

Vũ Trọng Khải, an agricultural expert, said the shift from smallholder production to large-scale and modern agricultural production would ensure a safe and sustainable agriculture.

The Government in the past issued many policies to develop farms, but few farmers and businesses benefited from these policies, he said.

Farm owners have encountered difficulties in accumulating land as well as accessing credit to expand their scale, he said at a forum held by the Việt Nam Farms and Agricultural Enterprises Association and the Department for Economic Co-operation and Rural Development.

Võ Mai, vice chairwoman of the Việt Nam Gardening Association, said capital sources for the agricultural sector remained low compared to actual demand.

As of June 2016, total outstanding loans in the agricultural sector reached an estimate of VNĐ886 trillion, accounting for 18 per cent of total outstanding loans in the economy.

Customers in the agricultural sector have faced difficulties in accessing bank loans due to credit regulations, she said.

For instance, the Government’s Decree 55 stipulates that customers involved in the agriculture and rural development sector can obtain loans at credit institutions without mortgaged assets, but the decree also stipulates that customers must submit their land use certificates to credit institutions when they apply for loans.

They still had to guarantee assets when applying for loans, she said.

Khải said that domestic agriculture was still small-scale and underdeveloped, which does not ensure efficiency, so banks are anxious to offer unsecured loans.

Võ Quan Huy, director of Huy Long An Co Ltd, who has a large banana farm in the southern province of Long An, said his company had to mortgage assets to obtain a loan, but he said the assets were priced by the banks at a level which is too low compared to the market price.

Similarly, Đoàn Minh Chiến, owner of a general farm in the southern province of Bình Dương, said “Each hectare of my farm is valued at VNĐ7-8 billion at the market price, but the bank values it at just VNĐ300 million.”

Huy and Chiến suggested that the Government and central bank reconsider amending the asset valuation policy.

Tiến said household and farm economies would continue to be the base of the country’s agricultural production.

The Government should develop policies to encourage pooling and accumulating land to expand production scale, and develop linkages in agricultural production.

Delegates at the forum said the Government should complete financial and credit policies in the agricultural sector that support individuals and organisations in pooling land. Developing insurance models in agricultural production is also important, they said. — VNS