Over 300 agricultural economists and policymakers from 30 countries and territories worldwide attended the seventh Asian Society of Agricultural Economists (ASAE) International Conference in Hanoi on Oct. 13.

Themed “Meeting the challenges facing Asian agriculture and agricultural economics towards a sustainable future”, the three-day event will focus its discussion on agriculture in development, climate change and sustainability of agriculture, strengthening Asian food security, development in agro-food marketing, rural development and urbanisation, agricultural investment and poverty reduction, as well as problems and strategies for Vietnam’s agriculture and rural development.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Dang Kim Son, General Director of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development affirmed that Asia is emerging as a new economic area of the world, with agriculture playing an important role in its successes and challenges.

However, Asia is facing challenges such as rapid growth which leads to widening income gap between rural and urban areas, and climate change which increases risks to agricultural production and food security, Son said.

This context poses a need for new research on economy and reforms of the agricultural development strategy in Vietnam in general and in Asia in particular, he added.

Son said that Vietnam’s agricultural development strategy for the 2011-2020 period defines rice as a key export commodity and sets the goal of harvesting 41 million tonnes of rice by 2020 on cultivated acreage of around 3.9 million hectares./.