|Farmers take care of their cows in Sốp Cộp District, the northern mountainous province of Sơn La. Experts said that the north-west area has mountains of opportunity to develop economy. — Photo nhandan.com.vn|
HÀ NỘI — The northwest was rich in social-cultural diversity, unique natural attributes and enormous agro-ecological potentials. Its strategic location was within reach of some of the largest and fastest growing regional and local agri-food markets.
Experts agreed upon these key highlights at the Northwest Việt Nam Research Symposium with the theme “Mountains of Opportunity”.
The symposium, held on Thursday by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) in Hà Nội, attracted more than 300 experts from government organisations, research institutes and agribusinesses.
But, they said, the region was also home to persistent and high rates of poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition, particularly among the ethnic families who form the majority of the populatuion. Spectacular natural landscape and untapped agricultural potential were threatened by widespread degradation of the natural land and water resources.
During the symposium, experts showcased key learnings, insights and implications from ACIAR research partnerships in northwest area reaching back more than 10 years.
The experts said they hoped to understand and overcome technical constrains to agriculture in a way that secured the future of mountain areas and ensured smallholders and the poor had an opportunity to participate and benefit.
Đỗ Văn Hùng, a researcher from the World Agroforestry Centre, said that organising groups of farmers to form co-operatives and develop farm business models to assess markets, building trust and guaranteeing the quality and quantity of agroforestry products needed to be developed for sustainable agroforestry expansion.
Peter Lane, an expert from the University of Tasmania, said that including village heads or well-practicing farmers would help set up a broader group as well as an efficient organisation for adoption and education of knowledge within the community.
He said it was apparent that collaboration between researchers and practitioners was important in developing a value chain, he said.
Lê Quốc Doanh, deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the symposium was a good chance for researchers to exchange information and opportunities for inclusive agricultural-led growth in northern mountainous regions.
“Opportunities exist for agricultural market development capable of delivering livelihood benefits to poor and agricultural products to consumers and contributing significant economic benefits to Việt Nam,” he said. — VNS