Agricultural experts speak about agricultural risk management and increased access to loan programmes for cooperatives in Việt Nam at a workshop in HCM City on Wednesday. — VNS Photo Bồ Xuân Hiệp
HCM CITY — Việt Nam needs to enhance its agricultural risk management capacity, experts told a workshop held in HCM City last week.
According to Dr Võ Thị Kim Sa, vice rector of the School of Management for Agriculture and Rural Development II, agriculture faces potential risks from weather, epidemics and market and price instability.
Việt Nam has in recent years issued a number of policies to support the agriculture sector including to encourage farmers and agricultural stakeholders to participate in insurance programmes to minimise the risks.
However, most farmers and co-operatives have yet to take part in insurance programmes.
Nguyễn Văn Thạch, a member of the management of the Da Xanh Grapefruit Cooperative in Bến Tre Province, said agriculture was increasingly faced with challenges due to climate change, natural disasters and market instability.
Most farmers depended too much on traders due to their lack of expertise in branding, marketing and trading of their products, he said.
“Most farmers would want to participate in agricultural insurance programmes to minimise the risks,” he said.
Jean Yves Drolet, an expert at the agricultural insurance division of the Canadian Cooperation Society for International Development (Socodevi), said most Vietnamese agricultural producers and stakeholders lacked risk management measures.
The Government would only provide assistance in case of losses due to natural disasters and epidemics on a case-by-case basis, he pointed out.
Melanie Dumont of the Ministry of Economics and Innovation of Canada’s Quebec City said it was vital to develop a strategy for connecting financial institutions and farmers to build risk management capacity to ensure that farmers are guaranteed a stable income even in case of natural disasters or market fluctuations.
A survey by the Việt Nam Cooperative Enterprises Development (VCED) has found there is permanent risk to agriculture in Việt Nam from the climate change and natural disasters like drought and salinity intrusion.
Fluctuations in market prices that occur frequently and are difficult to predict also disadvantage farmers.
It is important to strengthen the capacity of farmers to improve their livelihoods and adopt innovations, experts say.
Only 0.5 per cent of co-operatives have managed to get bank loans without mortgages, according to the survey.
Canada has funded a project in 2015-20 to improve the competitiveness and productivity of Vietnamese agricultural co-operatives.
The VCED-run project has supported five large agricultural co-operatives in Sóc Trăng, Bình Thuận, Ninh Thuận, Lâm Đồng, and Bến Tre provinces.
It seeks to improve the livelihoods of farmers through development of an agriculture value chain.
The project covers the establishment of new market-oriented agricultural co-operatives, enhancing the knowledge, skill and competitiveness of farmers, fine-tuning co-operative management practices, and developing policies and a regulatory environment to foster co-operatives.
More than 10,000 farm households are expected to benefit from it.
The project was implemented by Socodevi and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s School of Management for Agriculture and Rural Development II.
Socodevi is a Canadian non-profit that supports cooperatives as engines of sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development. Its main goal is to improve the lives of families in developing countries. — VNS