Agriculture sector fulfills targets set by government hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has accomplished targets set by the government this year, said Deputy Minister Ha Cong Tuan during a press conference in Hanoi on December 29. 

The sector posted a growth rate of 2.94 percent, higher than the 2.84 percent set by the government. It earned 36.37 billion USD from agro-forestry-fisheries export, over 4 billion USD higher than the same period last year, and posted a trade surplus of 8.55 billion USD, up more than 1 billion USD year-on-year. 

Under the National Target Programme on New Rural Development, 2,884 communes have been recognised as new-style rural areas, or 32.3 percent of the total, surpassing the goal of 31 percent. 

The rate of forest coverage reached 41.45 percent while violations in forest protection management fell by 23 percent and damages from deforestation and forest fires declined by 68 percent year-on-year. 

Those achievements were made despite unfavourable weather conditions this year with a record 16 tropical storms, along with floods on wide scale. Total damage from natural disasters is estimated at roughly 60 trillion VND (2.66 billion USD) this year, much higher than 39 trillion VND in 2016. 

Tuan attributed the growth to agricultural restructuring in combination with new rural development in adaptation to climate change. 

Instead of rice cultivation, priority is switched to high-value produce such as aquatic products, fruits and vegetables, and wooden furniture. 

Export of aquatic products hit a record 8.4 billion USD for the first time while wood and forestry shipments reached an all time high 8 billion USD. 

More than 1,400 cooperatives and 1,000 working groups were established, raising the total number of cooperatives to 12,200, more than 30 percent of which operate efficiently. 

Nearly 2,000 firms operating in agro-forestry-fisheries were established, marking a 3.8 percent increase annually. A number of major corporations choose high-tech and organic agriculture as main business field. 

The ministry also chose 2017 as a year of food quality and safety management. 

Up to 744 model chains of safe agro-forestry-fisheries supply have been built successfully nationwide. 

In 2018, the sector will continue taking drastic measures to ensure the safety of fresh food and small-scale slaughter houses, as well as develop material growing zones based on strength of each region, improve processing and expand new and promising markets.-VNA