A shrimp farm in Bac Lieu. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat asked the agriculture sector to take specific measures to promote its development in a more efficient and suitable manner, contributing to effectuating the National Target Programme on New Rural Development.

Speaking at a conference hosted by the ministry in Hanoi on June 29, Minister Phat praised the great efforts made by the whole sector to accelerate agricultural restructuring and resolve serious issues related to climate change and markets, especially in the context that the country is hastening international integration.

It is necessary to strongly and fully implement State management in the sector, focusing on building mechanisms and policies in a strategic and specific manner, he stressed.

The agriculture-forestry and aquaculture sector posted a decrease growth rate of 0.18 percent during the year's first six months. The sector’s production value was estimated to reach 397.4 trillion VND (nearly 17.9 billion USD), 0.1 percent lower than that of the same period last year.

Serious saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta region and prolonged drought and water shortages in Central and Central Highlands localities were attributed to the situations.

Unusual fish deaths occurred in four central coastal localities, export markets’ demand tumbled for Vietnamese agriculture-forestry and aquatic products, these were also said to be reasons behind the situation.

However, the sector still enjoyed remarkable outcomes due to restructuring, said head of the Ministry’s Planning Department Nguyen Thi Hong.

During the period, many measures to improve the business climate and national competitiveness index were intensified, Hong noted, adding that research and market forecast projects, and activities to promote trading were also enhanced, contributing to stabilising the sector’s export turnover.

Though export prices had dropped for many agricultural products in the global market, export turnover of the whole sector still reached 15.04 billion USD in the period, up 5.4 percent year-on-year.

The import value of agricultural material in the period was estimated to stand at 10.66 billion USD, down 8.7 percent against the same time last year.

Hong said, the whole sector will concentrate on quickening restructuring, while converting ineffective rice cultivation areas into other plants which are in high demand.

Farmers nationwide will be provided with consultation and directions to minimise damages caused by adverse weather , threats of diseases to livestock and plants, and to reduce production expenses.

Solutions will be rolled out to overcome the consequences from droughts and saltwater intrusion, and those to increase productivity and the quality of products and ensure food safety, especially for farm products for export such as dragon fruit, mangos, durians, longans, rambutans, lychees and bananas, she added.

The sector will also keep a close watch on supply and demand changes in domestic and foreign markets and devise policies to expand export markets and take full advantage of the free trade agreements that Vietnam signed with foreign partners, Hong stated.-VNA