Toward Green, Responsible Agriculture

3:01:53 PM | 1/10/2023

With innovative thinking and action to transform production models based on output growth, productivity, and resource-intensiveness to green, low-emission agricultural growth and climate-adaptive models, Vietnam will achieve its goal of becoming a transparent, responsible and sustainable food producer and supplier. Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Tran Thanh Nam grants an interview on implementation of the National Green Growth Strategy and international commitments to carry out the "Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Strategy for the 2021 - 2030 period, with a vision to 2050” approved by the Prime Minister in January 2022.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development approved the Action Plan for implementation of the National Green Growth Strategy for the 2021 - 2030 period in order to develop an ecological, circular, low-carbon agriculture. How does this affect orientations for agricultural development in 2023 and beyond?

The Action Plan is aimed to concretize goals, tasks and solutions to implement the National Strategy on Green Growth for the 2021 - 2030 period, with a vision to 2050 specified in Decision 1658/QD-TTg dated October 1, 2021 and the National Action Plan on Green Growth for the 2021 - 2030 period in Decision 882/QD-TTg dated July 22, 2022. Accordingly, this aims to develop eco-friendly, organic, circular, low-carbon agriculture to improve growth quality, added value, competitiveness and sustainability; reduce environmental pollution in agriculture and rural areas; and effectively and efficiently using energy and natural resources towards a carbon-neutral economy by 2050. Specifically, agricultural GDP growth rises by 2.5-3% a year while the efficient use and protection of land, water, aquatic resources, forests, and biodiversity conservation is enhanced.

The agricultural sector targets to use 30% organic fertilizers; increase the use of biological drugs for plant protection to over 30%; and irrigate at least 30% of dry crop area, using advanced water-saving irrigation methods.

To convert 300,000 ha of rice land to other crops of higher economic and environmental friendliness, the agricultural sector strives to have over 2% of organic cropland to total crop area. Organic livestock products will account for 2-3% of total livestock products produced in the country.

At the same time, Vietnam will expand application of good agricultural practices to improve quality, added value and competitiveness and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the agricultural sector; build new countryside to meet green and sustainable growth goals; form a lifestyle in harmony with the environment and nature; protect and develop landscape, green, clean, beautiful and civilized environment.

Vietnam's agriculture not only serves 100 million Vietnamese people, but also becomes a Top 15 agricultural exporter in the world, present in over 190 countries. The new context requires agricultural products to be responsible to consumers, ensures interests for smallholding farmers and to be sustainable in the global environment. Vietnam's agriculture increasingly has to show stronger responsibility to the international community, especially in terms of resource conservation, biodiversity, emission reduction, adaptation and adaptation to climate change.

The flower road of a commune that meets the new rural standards

What does Vietnamese agriculture need to do to keep up with the world's trends such as responsible agricultural production, low carbon emissions, environmental friendliness, and adaptation to climate change?

Vietnam's agriculture needs to quickly overcome limitations and weaknesses such as unsustainable development, potentially slowing growth, smallholding production, and unconnected agricultural production and business. In addition, the agricultural sector has to deal with many problems: climate change, market volatility and changes in consumption trends. Climate change is becoming more severe and extreme to make production conditions very difficult. Market movements are often very volatile. The COVID-19 epidemic changed the market completely and disrupted production and supply chains, or the Russia-Ukraine conflict also caused serious fluctuations in agricultural input and output. Prices of materials, fertilizers and wood fuels increased and agricultural exports slowed. Consumption trends are changing strongly. The Chinese market is reportedly quite easy but now it is also increasingly strict. The domestic market is also changing with increasing requirements for quality, food safety and hygiene. In particular, green consumption trends are increasingly popular in the world.

Responding to the above problems requires a strategy that needs to engage the whole political system, which must be transformed into action plans of each locality and determination of each citizen. In addition, increasing agricultural innovations to improve productivity and sustainability in supply chains helps cope with challenges. Fostering public-private partnership (PPP) for a green agriculture, innovation and value enhancement is essential, thereby attracting private and foreign corporate investment to restructure agriculture and transform Vietnam's agriculture ecologically and sustainably.

What is an effective remedy for Vietnamese agriculture?

The remedy for Vietnamese agriculture is changing the way that agriculture grows. Practically, recent agricultural successes have been driven by scientific and technological development solutions aimed to take advantage of Industry 4.0. There, digital transformation in agriculture is a total solution that helps improve the efficiency of the whole industry, creates breakthroughs in rapid and sustainable development and enhances added value and efficiency.

The digital transformation plan adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development states development goals of digital economy in agriculture to encourage businesses and people to join agriculture, scale up digital application to production, and provide agricultural services. Vietnam will intensify origin management and supervision and gradually form a digital agricultural ecosystem. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development targeted that 80% of agricultural databases will be built and updated onto big data contributed by organizations, individuals and communities. Specifically, the ministry will basically complete a database on crops, livestock and aquatic products; build a digital agricultural map for open data connectivity, sharing and delivery to perform online public services for people and businesses; operate e-Government, move towards digital government, and develop digital economy and digital society.

Digital transformation in agriculture in Vietnam is potentially huge because of high support from agencies and sectors to tech firms and agribusinesses. Most importantly, it takes a combination of both policy and education for successful digital transformation in agriculture. Vietnam needs to do better, invest more in technology and software to improve management and production in the future and move towards smart agriculture.

Thank you very much!

Minh Ngoc  (Vietnam Business Forum)