|Farmers harvesting rice in the Mekong Delta Province of Hậu Giang. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has asked the agriculture sector to strive to reach the target of US$44 billion in exports in 2021.
During a teleconference Thursday afternoon to review the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s performance in 2020 and set tasks for 2021, PM Phúc said that agriculture, farmers and rural development continued to be an important mainstay of the economy despite challenges and difficulties this year, especially because of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Government leader, the country’s two-way trade reached nearly $541 billion this year, of which more than $41 billion was from the agriculture sector.
He hailed the sector for fulfilling four important goals assigned by the Party and State, including achieving a growth rate of over 2.65 per cent, record export revenue of $41.2 billion, a trade surplus of $10.4 billion, and five groups of products gaining more than $3 billion in export revenues.
Regarding the processing industry in agriculture, he said 68 farm produce processing plants have been built over the past five years, including 20 establishments constructed in 2020. Targets in new rural development have also been surpassed.
The PM also praised the agriculture sector for making efforts in flood and drought prevention and control, helping to mitigate losses of human lives and property.
Apart from risks related to extreme weather conditions, he said there were and would be a lot of opportunities offered by 14 new-generation free trade deals, including the European Union-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
For 2021, the PM required the sector to spare no efforts to achieve a growth rate of around 3 per cent, increase the value of agro-forestry-fisheries production by over 3 per cent and raise forest coverage to 42 per cent, plant 1 billion trees in urban, remote and rural areas, establish 2,000 new agriculture cooperatives to raise the total number to about 20,000, 16,500 of them operate effectively.
He asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to allocate mid-term capital for the sector for the 2021-25 period, including stepping up the adoption of digital technology for production and consumption as well as attracting more enterprises to agriculture, especially foreign-invested firms.
Localities and producers were required to supply high-quality products with good designs and food safety to the domestic market, ensure the supply of pork at reasonable prices for the upcoming Tết (Lunar New Year) festival.
So far, 62 per cent of communes nationwide were recognised as new-style rural areas, up 8 per cent from 2019. Up to 173 district-level units gained the status, or 61 higher than last year. The provinces of Nam Định, Hưng Yên, and Đồng Nai have completed new-style rural building and nine other cities and provinces are completing procedures to fulfil the task.
Some 859 million trees were prepared for afforestation, while 220,000 ha of new forests have been planted this year, achieving the set target, heard the conference. — VNS