Newly-elected Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Newly-elected Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong has suggested measures to develop agriculture in the context of global integration.

He said the agricultural sector needs to restructure and continue new-style rural construction and economic development.

It is crucial to boost production, especially in such fields as seafood, animal husbandry, and forestry to make up losses that the cultivation sector suffered in the first six months of this year due to serious drought and saltwater intrusion, he said.

It is also essential to protect and develop forests in the north and Central Highlands and mangrove forests in coastal areas, he said, adding that facilitating trade, providing market information, expanding markets, and boosting exports are equally important.

The agricultural sector should focus on restructuring while reviewing policies to encourage production and attract businesses to invest in rural areas, he said, emphasising the need to promote businesses’ role in taking care of farmers’ interests.

He recommended develop new cooperatives in addition to enhancing the application of science and biotechnology into manufacturing activities.

Special attention should be paid to the farm produce consumption market at home and abroad, he noted.

The Minister pointed to major shortcomings in agriculture such as backward technical infrastructure in seafood, forestry, logistics, and distribution networks; loose management of food safety and hygiene; and increasing water, land, and air pollution.

Small-scale production along with climate change and natural disasters and challenges posed byinternational integration are among the difficulties that the agricultural sector is facing, he noted.

Complicated global developments also affect farm exports and investment, he said.

He cited that the agricultural sector recorded negative growth of 0.18 percent in the first half of 2016. The income of farmers is estimated at 24.6 million VND (1,107 USD) per capita, much lower than the country’s average level of 45.7 million VND (2,056 USD). The rate of rural households living under the poverty line is 9.3 percent, higher than the nationwide average of 4.5 percent.

To cope with the shortcomings, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has proposed the Government put forth policies to develop a safe agro-forestry-fisheries production value chain and encourage businesses to connect with households and cooperatives to build a safe farm produce supply chain in line with global criteria, he added.-VNA