Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — HCM City Party Committee Secretary Nguyễn Thiện Nhân has called on city authorities to make agriculture one of the city’s seven key economic pillars.
Speaking at a conference on developing modern co-operatives to help restructure agriculture and raise farmers’ incomes, he said currently agriculture did not enjoy that status though it was one of the city’s focuses.
"Việt Nam is one of the largest agricultural produce exporting countries in the world, but faces problems such as bumper crops and resultant price drops, leading to lower incomes for farmers," he said.
According to Nhân, this is because agriculture in the country is often not compatible with the market economy and international integration.
Besides, farmers frequently face financial shortages though the Government has many preferential policies for them.
Most farmers’ land holdings are small, making agriculture inefficient, especially because 97 per cent of farm workers are untrained.
Modern farming co-operatives are needed to achieve a breakthrough in restructuring agriculture and raising the incomes of farmers.
Nguyễn Thị Bạch Mai, chairwoman of the city Farmers Association, said the association had encouraged farmers to join co-operatives since 2013.
The city has 75 agricultural co-operatives, and the average income of their members is VNĐ40-50 million (US$1,713-2,141) a year.
According to a survey by the city Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, nearly 20 per cent of farmers have tied up with enterprises and 15 per cent have joined co-operatives.
Farmers joining co-operatives earn 10-35 per cent more than individuals.
But Mai said most co-operatives faced difficulties related to land, warehouses, finance, working facilities and leadership.
Trần Văn Chánh, director of the Phú Lộc Co-operative in Củ Chi District, suggested that city authorities should allow co-operatives to build warehouses on agricultural lands.
Moreover, they should subsidise co-operatives’efforts to indicate the origins of their produce in their packaging, products.
According to other delegates at the conference, the co-operatives should develop their services in terms of quality and availability.
They should embrace the market, co-operate with each other and with enterprises for creating new strains and breeds and selling to value chains. — VNS