Pepper harvest in Dong Nai (Source: VNA)
Vietnam and most of other countries in Southeast Asia are encountering challenges in ensuring equal and sustainable agricultural production, heard a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on September 23.

Speakers said ASEAN countries are opening their market and pushing ahead with agriculture production to cope with challenges posed by global integration and climate change.

This means they have to build a value chain linking farmers, processors and the market, under which every one shares profits and risks, especially for small-scale households in remote areas, they said.

In the case of Vietnam, the current biggest obstacle does not lie in production but rather the capacity to access the markets.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said over the past five years, Vietnam has attracted over 40 domestic and foreign organisations to develop the value chain of key farm produce such as coffee, tea, maize, vegetable, spices and seafood.

The country has encouraged many multi-national group and domestic companies to build links among domestic and foreign enterprises as well as between business players and farmers, paying special heed to farmers’ interests and environmental and economic sustainability.

However, the sustainability and expansion of such links are facing problems, requiring new approaches in business activities and investment strategies as well as the forms of cooperation.

Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Hugh Borrowman said Vietnam and other nations in ASEAN need to work together to seek more sustainable measures in the field.

According to the ambassador, the Australian Government has been closely working with Vietnamese counterparts and other partners in ASEAN to connect entrepreneurs and farmers, researchers, individuals and organisations, for the common goals of poverty reduction, a prosperous future and food security.

The two-day workshop was jointly held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Australian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Trade, based on the Asian growth initiative of the Global Economic Forum. The initiative aims to promote inclusive agriculture investment and cooperation in ASEAN member states towards the ultimate goal of increasing profits by 20 percent for 10 million small farming households in the region and guarantee sustainable environment.-VNA