Overview of the conference (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The acceleration of agricultural restructuring towards higher added value and sustainable growth in combination with rural development is key for the agriculture sector to progress amidst the country’s integration into the world and ASEAN in particular, said an agricultural official.

The development of key products and the application of advanced science and technology will help the sector increase productivity and reduce costs, said Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh at a conference on the sustainable growth of agriculture during ASEAN integration which opened in Hanoi on September 15.

He stressed the need to build information and market forecast system and boost trade promotion while better organising production activities, encourage businesses to invest in agriculture, and actively responding to climate change.

The official also pointed out a number of the sector’s weaknesses, including unsustainable development, declining growth pace and poor competitiveness.
Meanwhile, Vice President of the Vietnam Peace and Development Foundation (VPDF) Trinh Ngoc Thai said that with about 70 percent of population being farmers, agriculture is an important sector which accounts for nearly 20 percent of the country’s GDP.

The economic integration, especially into ASEAN, has brought about considerable benefits and opportunities to farmers and agriculture sector of Vietnam as well as other ASEAN member countries through the expansion of export markets, free trade, investment attraction and science-technology exchange, he held.

However, he said, the integration process has also created difficulties and challenges, while farmers are among the most vulnerable.

During the two-day conference, jointly held by the VPDF and the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Vietnam, participants also discussed a number of issues related to sustainable development of agriculture, including the role of science and technology advances in the growth of goods-based agriculture, impacts of the ASEAN Economic Community on Vietnam’s agriculture sector, and green and environmentally-friendly agriculture.-VNA