Working together with Farmers to Professionalize Agriculture

10:59:22 AM | 7/22/2021

Cooperative development and good market positioning will help increase the scale and quality of Vietnam's agriculture. Farms and agricultural cooperatives have helped develop a modern and smart agricultural economy, said Mr. Le Duc Thinh, Director of Cooperative Economy and Rural Development Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Bao Dan reports.

What are the solutions to challenges of Vietnam's agriculture?

In the coming period, Vietnam needs to make the cooperative economy and the collective economy where cooperatives are the core play a proper role in agricultural restructuring. This is a salvation for the country's agriculture to break the curse of fragmented and smallholding production in the past time. We need cooperation and association. To do so, the market must be positioned and it will be adjusted to production, scale and technical standards.

Positively, unlike previously, large corporations have started to invest in agriculture. Not only for profit, but they also want to catalyze changes in Vietnamese agriculture, bring Vietnamese agricultural products abroad and add value to processed products. The agricultural investment of the business community has created breakthroughs because agricultural restructuring needs a leader. But, cooperatives and small and medium enterprises cannot be left behind in this course. The synergy of cooperatives and SMEs will create wide-spread effects. Agricultural innovation or startup programs will also be a priority in the coming time. Startups, young knowledgeable and tech-savvy people from big cities will return to the countryside to take part in specific agricultural fields, from sorting, preservation and distribution to e-commerce. This will be a spillover factor in the community and make equal contributions to big businesses.

When will Vietnamese agriculture do away with unsafe agricultural products?

Recently, the awareness of some farmers has been raised. However, the abuse of pesticides still exists. It will be difficult for people to change and it will take time to convince and support them to switch from input-abusive agriculture to natural agriculture. At first, productivity may decrease but it does not mean income because the quality of agricultural products will increase at that time, the brand name will be lifted and selling prices will go up.

We determine that growth cannot be exchanged for imbalanced ecosystems, biodiversity and reputation and brand of Vietnamese agricultural products. Soon, there will be a solution to check the shift from inorganic pesticides to biological medicines. The story of “clean from field to fork” is a matter of social awareness. Each person must refuse to use agricultural products that cannot be traced to be organic.

How will we attract innovative companies and young people to invest in agricultural production? What will the image of farmers look like in the next period?

It is technology and agricultural SMEs that will attract young intellectuals to return to their homeland. The important matter in development thinking is not only growth but how many jobs are created by growth for society? Humans must be taken as the goal and the motivation. The agricultural startup ecosystem is also a condition for us to drive resources towards the countryside where value for businesses and value for farmers are created. Then, we will no longer have to complain about the youth who abandon the farm and leave the countryside.

In the future, our agriculture will be clean, green and natural. We must form value chains and support inputs to increase output and expand stable output markets.

Farmers are the first in the process of agricultural restructuring. To have professional and smart agriculture, we must have professional and smart farmers. For farmers to become professional and smart, they need specific decisions, projects and plans. We must change their mindset and awareness first because, if there are no changes in perceptions, they will tend to follow old practices and rely on godsend in farming as in the past. When farmers work together and join cooperatives, they will access basic market knowledge, understand supply/demand, comprehend climate change and food safety. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will work with farmer associations and related agencies to guide licensed farming, which means that agriculture is a professional career rather than a godsend career. We must intellectualize and professionalize farmers who will be licensed to do farming.

Source:  Vietnam Business Forum