Last updated: Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Groundbreaking Policies Needed to Draw More Agricultural InvestmentPosted: Friday, January 20, 2017
The just-elapsed year of 2016 was considered an extremely difficult time for the agricultural sector due to disasters from region to region, e.g. droughts and saline intrusions in the Mekong Delta, floods in Southern Central Vietnam, and marine environmental incidents caused by Formosa in central provinces. The hardship toughened on global oversupply of essential agricultural products.
2016 also witnessed the highest concentration of the political system, especially the Prime Minister’s direction that agricultural sector of Vietnam must be competitive enough and bring a prosperous life to farmers. With drastic measures, Vietnam’s agricultural GDP expanded 1.2 per cent in the last six months of 2016 after suffering the first decline in 10 years in the first six months. The total export value still rose to US$32.1 billion, with nine commodities growing from 5 per cent to 30 per cent. 2016 also saw strong agricultural investments from leading companies in Vietnam like Vingroup and TH. With efforts proven and results achieved, the prospect of the Vietnamese agricultural sector is expected to be brightened in 2017. On the occasion of the advent of the Year of the Chicken in 2017, Vietnam Business Forum Magazine has an interview with Mr Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Le Hien reports.
What agricultural sector impressed you in 2016?
At a seminar held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, data showed that agricultural investment accounted for only 6 per cent of total investment capital of the whole economy. Particularly in 2016, nearly 1,500 companies invested in agriculture. What do you think about these figures?
What are preconditions for agricultural restructuring to shape a high value, sustainable agriculture? What are breakthroughs?
Right from the first days of the new cabinet, the Prime Minister assigned tasks to concerned bodies to quicken the study and amendment of the Decree 210 on agricultural investment attraction. In particular, policies will give priority to enterprises to invest in high-tech agriculture and organic agriculture. The Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development are working with relevant bodies to amend and advise the Prime Minister to issue a new decree. In addition, with such bottlenecks as land, credit and bank loan, the agricultural sector is also cooperating with concerned agencies to enact innovative, positive and practical policies to attract enterprises and economic sectors to invest in agriculture.
While waiting for legislation enforcement, what will the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development - the administrator of agriculture - do to accelerate the agricultural restructuring and engagement of the business community? What are the objectives of the agricultural sector in 2017?
Additionally, we focus on calling for investment from giant domestic and foreign corporations to carry out agricultural investment in the form of public private partnership (PPP) to establish multiple agricultural models. Most recently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development met with 15 major multinational corporations such as Nestlé, Syngenta, Bayer and Baconco to jointly build Vietnam's modern agriculture. They are not only financially strong but their superior technologies can bring huge benefits to farmers in remote areas.
In 2017, we have focused on two key national programmes: Agricultural restructuring and new rural construction. By all measures, the sector expects to expand 2.5-2.8 per cent and earn US$32.5 billion of export revenues in 2017, with 10 commodities bringing home over US$1 billion.