Agricultural restructuring was one of the most hotly discussed topics during the plenary sessions on October 30-31 of the ongoing eighth session of the National Assembly.

According to Dinh Thi Phuong Khanh, a representative from the Mekong Delta province of Long An, connections between farmers, and between farmers and businesses have been poor.

She suggested more effective measures be applied to utilise the advantages of each locality, paying special attention to enhancing the competitiveness of Vietnamese agricultural products.

She proposed that the Government allocate enough funds from the State budget to the application and transfer of processing technology and establish pilot models for farmers to engage with joint-stock agricultural enterprises, while encouraging enterprises to invest in the field.

Meanwhile, deputy Le Dinh Khanh from Hai Duong province said it was necessary to reconfirm agriculture as a key pillar of the economy.

He proposed the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development focus on researching domestic plant and livestock species to reduce imports of different varieties; creating a brand image for Vietnamese agricultural products; and strengthening links between the State, farmers, researchers and businesses, with the State playing a central role.

At the same time, Le Nam, a deputy representing Thanh Hoa province highlighted the need to accelerate the distribution of 16 billion VND to support fishermen and implement measures to help the fishery sector operate more smoothly.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat responded to the issues raised on October 30 and 31, and said that despite a number of achievements, such as a 13 percent year-on-year growth in exports and 785 communes fulfilling all the criteria of the new-style rural area building programme, the sector still faced numerous challenges.

He highlighted the key role agricultural restructuring played in adding value to the sector and achieving sustainable development.

The ministry implemented a number of measures to reform the sector, including 16 projects, with six focussing on restructuring cultivation, animal husbandry, aquaculture, and agricultural product processing, and another six focussing on reforming investments, the legal framework, scientific and technological research, and human resources development, he said.

In addition, the Government issued a number of support policies to boost agricultural restructuring, transform cultivation in the Mekong Delta region, and develop aquaculture, he noted.

Currently, the Government is directing the implementation of policies to encourage the protection of forests and reduce poverty amongst ethnic minority groups, the Minister said. The Ministry also called for more investments in agriculture, he added.

He pointed out the sector’s progress so far, with over 120,000 hectares of rice fields converted into large-scale fields.

However, he also pushed for the stronger involvement of ministries, sectors and localities in implementing agricultural restructuring measures.-VNA