VietNamNet Bridge – Up to 42% of farmers insist that they are dissatisfied with their current living conditions, according to a household resource survey on Vietnamese rural areas and farmers.



The report just released by the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (Ipsard) points out that one of the reasons for such dissatisfaction is that farmers’ incomes are not proportional to their labor.

The survey, conducted bi-annually since 2006, examines the lives of 3,000 farming households in 12 provinces nationwide.

Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, head of Ipsard’s Center for Agricultural Policy, said incomes, spending and agricultural production efficiency has improved but not equally. There have been improvements seen in Ha Tay, Long An and Lam Dong provinces but not in Lao Cai Province.

Land accumulation takes place slowly, with many households owning only 0.7 hectare and others in mountainous areas owning land sites which are located 10-15 kilometers apart.

Meanwhile, due to high risks, it is not easy for farming households to expand agricultural production. Besides, wages from the informal sector are unstable.

According to the report, savings of farming households are very low with only VND5-8 million per household per year, accounting for 10-15% of their incomes. The main reason for this is that households are too poor to save.

Most of their savings (80%) are kept in the form of gold or cash and used in case of natural disasters, diseases, illness and old age. Meanwhile, only 15% of savings is used with investment purposes.

In addition to low incomes and accumulation, the report shows that up to half of farming households suffer from collective crises such as natural disasters, diseases and unstable prices, or personal crises such as death, illness, loss-making business and land recall.

Natural disasters such as storms happen more often with greater severity; input prices increase; farm produce, livestock and seafood products cannot be sold or are sold at low prices.

Although the picture in the report is relatively gloomy, economic expert Pham Chi Lan believes that the life picture of rural households is even gloomier.

However, the report contains specific data with important messages. The Government’s direct supporting policies have not helped the people that much and they still have to rely on assistance of the community, their own efforts and other channels.

Dang Kim Son, director of Ipsard, said that the Government has provided many policies to support agriculture and farmers, but such policies are not strong or suitable.

Moreover, there are still many economic development opportunities which have not been exploited, he added.

“Based on this report, Ipsard will study and propose new policies to have new development plans, especially amid the current economic restructuring.

Source: SGT