The Vietnam Business Annual Report 2014 was released in Hanoi on April 15 with a focus on enterprise development in agribusiness.

The report analyses the close connection between the development of enterprises and the quality of economic growth in agriculture.

It notes that agriculture is pivotal to ensuring national food security, eradicating poverty, and earning hard currency, thus contributing to political and social stability.

However, there are a substantial number of shortcomings in Vietnam’s agriculture, lagging behind regional rivals.

To address these weaknesses, business engagement in agriculture is necessary to improve farm produce quality and values, it says.

Mai Xuan Hung, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Committee on Economic Affairs, said although agriculture continues to act as a pillar of the economy, the connection between farmers and enterprises is unsustainable.

He urged strengthened linkages among farmers, companies, cooperatives, and scientific institutes in order to promote large-scale cash crop production, product quality, processing, and export, ultimately optimising the efficiency of agribusiness.

A representative from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) pointed out major hindrances to Vietnam’s agribusiness, such as small-scale and scattered production facilities; low quality materials; poor financial strength; lack of access to global scientific, technological and market information; and cumbersome legal regulations.

The VCCI representative suggested businesses improve their management capacity, modernise production activities, and pay more attention to niche markets to avoid direct competition with rivals in major markets.

The annual report noted that Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate reached 5.98 percent last year, the largest since 2011. Export revenue reached 150 billion USD while imports posted at 148 billion USD, generating a trade surplus of 2 billion USD.

Financial and monetary markets remained stable with deposit and lending interest rate caps lowered, facilitating business development.

The 4.09 percent annual rise of the consumer price index in 2014 was the slowest in a decade.-VNA