Overview of the meeting (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc urged Northwestern provinces to pay more heed to animal husbandry through specific development projects as the region boasts huge potential for this sector.

The official made the appeal at a conference of the Steering Committee for the Northwestern Region on December 10 to sum up the committee’s performance in 2015 and discuss livestock farming in the region which comprises of Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Yen Bai, Son La, Dien Bien and Lai Chau provinces.

Deputy PM Phuc, who is also head of the committee, asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to coordinate with the localities to devise the projects to submit to the Government for approval.

The projects, he said, should outline incentives for the sector and focus on the building of high-tech breeding centres and the application of scientific-technological advances.

Small-scale and dispersed animal husbandry should be turned into farms which are equipped with cutting-edge technologies and connected to production and consumption companies, he said.

The steering committee and the MARD will study agro-forestry development policies in the region and implement high-quality agricultural development projects, he said.

Deputy PM Phuc also asked the Northwestern provinces to take full advantage of animal breeding to speed up international integration.

Echoing the Deputy PM’s views, MARD Minister Cao Duc Phat said the Northwest is blessed with natural conditions favourable for livestock farming.

The region makes up 28.6 percent of the country’s total area and 15.8 percent of the national farming land, he explained.

However, the minister said, the small-scale and outdated livestock farming methods have risked the sector to natural disasters and epidemics, thus resulting in the slow and unsustainable growth.

Delegates at the event agreed on the need to push for the implementation of agricultural structuring projects in 2016 and for 2016-2020, under which livestock farms will be formed in parallel with the development of the food processing industry, in order to fulfill the target of sustainable poverty reduction in the region.

A report presented at the meeting shows that the region’s average GDP growth reached 9.97 percent in 2015 while per capita income increased by 2.5 million VND (111 USD) against the previous year.

However, the regional poverty rate still remained high at 14.97 percent and education gap between areas in the region was widening.

Other shortcomings can be seen in such realms as health care services at district and communal levels, social security and order, especially the complicated development of drug crimes, and free migration.

Against the backdrop, Deputy PM Phuc required the localities to map out development and economic restructuring plans, especially agricultural restructuring in each locality.

More attention should be placed to improving the quality of education and training, particularly vocational training which is seen as a fundamental solution to poverty elimination, he said.-VNA