Vietnam has a relatively high rate of the population living in rural areas and participating in the agricultural sector. However, the majority of farmers in the country have to accept the paradox of bumper crops resulting in low prices, and seeing high prices only after poor crops.

An analysis by the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) online newspaper said this is a factor that makes farmers’ life very hard. In the value chain of exported rice, although farmers’ role is essential, their benefit is of secondary importance. The paradox has existed for many years and the sad fact is that there has been no feasible solution.

In the message early this year, one of the important issues Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung clearly stated was to restructure the agricultural sector. This shows that the structure of the agricultural sector now has many shortcomings and it needs to be changed.

In parallel, it is necessary to change the way of thinking and doing in order to build a modern agriculture. In the new agriculture, farmers not only know how to apply high technology to increase the value of products, but also change methods of transaction, trading traditional agricultural products and applying more advanced and effective business method.

In developed countries, agriculture is mechanised at the very high level of technology from the stage of harvest, drying and processing. Moreover, farmers also set up a web to connect with rice-trading centres, extensively promote their products to sell faster at higher prices. Thanks to this, many farmers reduce risks in the production process, save labour costs and get higher profits than their colleagues in developing countries, including Vietnam.

Farmers are not only the dominant force in production but also beneficiaries of their fruits. If things are not changed, for many years, tens of millions of Vietnamese farmers will still suffer, working hard but for an income which doesn't match their efforts.

The large-field model has taken shape and gained initial success. This is not only the inspiration of managers, agronomists but also farmers who have been put under compulsion in small fields of the outdated and backward agriculture for generations. It is impossible to have a strong and modern agriculture with small fields separated by thousands of edges.

In the process of restructuring the agricultural sector in the coming time, the Government should quickly create favourable conditions for private enterprises and foreign direct investment (FDI) businesses to participate in this field.

Moreover, it should dissolve unprofitable State-owned enterprises in the sector, end the monopoly, create a level "playground" for all businesses so af to facilitate a healthy competition within the business community involving in the sector.

In the coming years, authorities need to prepare basic steps towards building a market for agricultural product trading, auction like some developed countries to help farmers avoid having to sell at low prices. In addition, it is essential to establish an agricultural price insurance fund to protect farmers against natural disasters and epidemics.

Besides the role of the State, farmers must also adapt themselves to changes to develop. Particularly, the application of high technology in production as well as trading agricultural products requires a deep understanding and more professional skills. In this regard, the role of farmer’s associations, human resources training centres for the agricultural sector, and agronomists is very important.

The recent economic crisis has proved that the agricultural sector is a platform of the global economy. Not many countries in the world become well-off thanks to agriculture, but every country also considers agriculture as a fundamental factor behind long-term prosperity. The key elements of agriculture make many countries change their development strategy in recent years, pay attention and pour more investment into this field.

For Vietnam, restructuring agriculture in the overall restructuring of the whole economy is not a mission impossible. However, for the successful restructuring, in addition to the determination of the political system, special attention must be paid to the benefit of farmers./.