Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Cao Duc Phat on November 19 talked of sustainable development for Vietnamese rice while answering deputies’ queries at the ongoing session of the 13th National Assembly (NA).

Minister Phat was the first Cabinet member to appear before the NA to answer questions on issues in his charge.

He also put emphasis on the agriculture sector’s restructuring, rice procurement for stockpile and management of fertiliser, animal medicine and food.

He affirmed that the Ministry will implement synchronous measures for the sustainable development of the country’s rice, focusing on plans and measures to raise productivity and the value of the staple food.

According to the Minister, it is necessary to encourage farmers to change the crop structure in areas that are not suitable for rice cultivation. The Ministry issued an instruction on the change while providing farmers with the application of science and technology in production and farm produce processing and preserving.

Apart from promoting a sustainable rice business system, the Ministry has expanded large-scale model rice fields, which are considered a prospect for the country’s rice, he added.

Explaining the application of science and technology in agricultural development, Minister of Science and Technology Nguyen Quan affirmed that his Ministry is interested in agriculture and rural development with the implementation of two out of ten key national programmes serving the agricultural sector.

Minister Quan said that Vietnam ’s science-technology has potential in a number of fields, but requires more efforts to have a high position in the region as part of the goal to be in the top science and technology group in the region by 2020.

Answering a question on information that says that benefit distribution in the rice value chain is not in favour of farmers, Minister Phat asked the Ministry’s research institutes and localities to investigate the issue.
With results, the Ministry will propose to the Government adjustments to harmonise benefits between partners in the chain.

He added that the model connecting farmers and businesses is a method to ensure the harmony of benefits between them.

Regarding rice procurement for stockpile, the Minister affirmed that the policy on the procurement is a Band-Aid solution and the measure is only applied to prevent a decrease in price caused by a temporary unbalance between demand and supply and when rice prices are low and farmers’ profit is less than 30 percent as committed between the Government and the farmers.

At the session, he explained the allocation of capital from the Government’s bonds to the implementation of the new rural building programme, affirming initial outcomes from the programme that have been reviewed three years after its implementation.

He said the Ministry has proposed giving priority to difficult localities, especially ethnic group-inhabited areas.

Also at the session, Minister of Construction Trinh Dinh Dung mentioned efforts to overcome consequences caused by natural disasters.

The Ministry has sent a mission to the Philippines to study impacts of super typhoon Haiyan to have detailed measures in response to climate change and sea level rising, he said, adding that the Ministry has also worked with international organisations on coastal planning in line with Vietnam ’s conditions.

During the session, deputies raised questions on solutions for climate change, cooperation in production in agriculture, measures to help farmers growing sugarcane, and rubber deforestation and plans for rural areas and high-tech agricultural areas.-VNA