To achieve sustainable development, Vietnam’s agriculture sector must improve productivity and quality, and identify markets for its products, experts said at a conference held in Ho Chi Minh City on January 18.
Clean vegetables in a greenhouse in the northern province of Vinh Phuc
Highly skilled labour, small-scale production, and increased use of technology are also all needed, they said.
Efficient restructuring of the agricultural sector has brought good results in the last few years, with agricultural products contributing significantly to total exports, but the sector is facing challenges, said Nguyen Trung Kien, an expert in the field.
Kimura Yoshihisa, a consultant in agriculture at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), said that Japan used large fields and cooperatives to achieve sustainable agriculture.
Japanese farmers whose fields are located near each other grow crops with the same seed variety and on the same schedule.
They also use advanced farming techniques. If farmers’ fields in some areas are not located near each other, authorities should create favourable conditions for them to swap land, according to the Japanese expert.
For farmers whose land is unproductive or who had no one to farm the land, authorities will help the land owner find a farmer to grow crops on their land.
Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, Director of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), said that Vietnam’s abundant agricultural supply could meet changing demand of local and global markets.
The sector aims for annual growth of a minimum 3 percent, with labour productivity improving by 3.5 percent a year by 2020, according to the MARD.
The ministry has also set a goal of having 15,000 agricultural cooperatives, increasing income of rural residents by 1.8 times compared to 2015.
To achieve these results, the sector would need to develop a national key product group, a provincial key product group, and a "one commune, one product” group, a MARD representative said.
A systematic approach to training its growing workforce would also fully reap the benefits of free trade, experts said.
Authorities in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho plan to provide training in agriculture for at least 1,400 people in rural areas this year, focusing mostly on crop cultivation and animal husbandry.