Agricultural centre to offer more support hinh anh 1Scientists visit rice field in central Quang Nam province.(Photo: VNA)
HCM City (VNA) - The National Agriculture Extension Centre plans to carry out reforms that will enable it to offer greater practical support to farmers and assist with the restructure of the agriculture sector and building of new rural areas under a Government programme.

Speaking at a review meeting in HCM City on January 22, the centre's director, Phan Huy Thong, said with the country's deeper international integration, the agriculture sector must focus on improving quality and cutting costs to improve competitiveness.

Thus, besides its usual job of helping farmers boost productivity, now agricultural extension centres must also help farmers improve quality, he said.

"Agricultural extension work needs to be reformed to better serve farmers.

"We must consider farmers as our customers, and agricultural extension work must be based on their needs."

Tran Van Dung, chief of the centre's representative office in the south, said efforts would be stepped up to transfer advanced technology to farmers as well as most effective production models to improve their efficiency and incomes.

The extension work would closely follow the programme on restructuring agriculture, with a focus on key tasks like applying GAP standards and technology in production, urban agricultural extension, supplying plant and animal strains that can withstand climate change, and others, he said.

This year his centre would strive to create linkages between all stages from production to consumption, he said.

Future training for extension workers and farmers would feature more practical sessions, he promised.

Ngo Dong Hai, deputy head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's HCM City office, said with increasing trade barriers in overseas markets, agricultural extension services should provide greater assistance to farmers to improve the quality and competitiveness of the nation's agricultural output.

Nguyen Thanh Hai, owner of Nguyen Thanh Hai Co., Ltd, which produces fertilizers, said quality would decide the survival of agriculture, and so future agricultural extension services need to focus on helping farmers improve quality.

Dung said the centre has carried out many national projects to transfer advanced technologies to farmer and achieved significant success in improving the output of key agricultural items.

Large-scale rice cultivation, F1 rice hybrids, producing poultry varieties in border provinces, and breeding shrimp to GAP standards have been among the successful projects, he said.

Besides, it had, together with provinces and cities, organised many extension events last year, including forums, competitions, and fairs, to help farmers adopt new production techniques and find more outlets for their produce.

It also worked with the media to disseminate information about the Government's agricultural and rural policies besides useful tips on cultivation, harvesting, and post-harvest processing, he added.-VNA