Despite having gained access to nearly 200 countries and territories with an annual turnover of US$40 billion, Vietnam still struggled to sustainably expand and develop markets for its agricultural commodities in harsh conditions.
A tea plantation area in northern Thai Nguyen Province’s Dong Hy District. The plantation receives the National Fund for Tea Planting to expand production.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong pointed out the country’s disadvantages in increasing consumption of its agricultural products at the International Support Group Plenary Meeting 2019 in Hanoi yesterday.
According to Cuong, Vietnam’s agriculture does not have effective productivity as most of farms are small in size, exposing the sector to threats of loss and crop failure, especially under the impacts of climate change.
“Besides shrimp, catfish and milk, most of Vietnam’s agricultural products have very short value chains,” he said, adding that Vietnamese farmers were the most vulnerable as production still depended heavily on weather conditions while farming infrastructure was limited.
In the context of global integration, the public-private partnership needs accelerating to allocate resources to develop a completed agriculture management ecosystem which will not only satisfy the food demand of nearly 100 million citizens but also the international market, the minister said.
“Vietnam has to continue agricultural restructure, focusing on products that the country has comparative advantages, applying innovations and enhancing international cooperation,” said Cuong.
Ousmane Dione, World Bank Vietnam Country Director, raised concerns over quality and sustainability of Vietnam’s agricultural growth, saying profits earned by small households were low and post-harvest loss was considerable.
Meanwhile, food quality and safety have not ensured, hindering the country’s agriculture sector from expanding.
He recommended Vietnam strengthens ties among stakeholders and provinces in planning production areas and improving trade promotion besides increasing productivity.
Dang Kim Son, former head of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, stressed upon the development of sustainable raw material areas and cooperatives as the breakthrough to further set up value chains for agricultural products.
In its presentation at the event, representatives of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) briefed the model of “Centre of Excellence” which was piloted in Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap and Hanoi as an approach to develop agri-business and value chain.
According to UNIDO, the model “represents an interface between farmers and the market and acts as a model for the application of appropriate technologies and its transfer to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) acting in the sector”.
Many supporting services are provided including vocational training in food processing and entrepreneurship management.
Two enterprises in Dong Thap Province have successfully exported mangoes to the US and tripled the raw material areas, from 300ha to nearly 1,000ha, under the model’s framework.
Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and UNIDO signed a project implementation agreement on increasing quality and standards compliance capacity of the mango value chain in Mekong River Delta. — VNS
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