A worker tends to melon plants at a farm of the Quang Minh organic agricultural cooperative in Quang Minh commune of Hiep Hoa district, Bac Giang province (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A support centre for cooperative development was opened in Hanoi on December 6, aiming to help Vietnamese cooperatives get more involved in agricultural value chains.

The centre was set up by the Vietnam Cooperative Union for Agricultural Consumption (UCA).

Its director Nguyen The Phuong said the centre will help cooperatives join sustainable value chains.

UCA Chairman Pham Anh Tuan said Vietnam has been strongly integrating into the global economy, which will bring about both opportunities and challenges, especially in agriculture.

Notably, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will take effect in January 2019. Vietnam will have several years to prepare to export farm produce to major markets and brace for challenges posed by the competition of products from other CPTPP members, including Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Vietnamese goods have to meet the other countries’ standards while being safe and cheaper than agricultural products of other signatories, or they will lose in the domestic market.

To do that, it is necessary to boost land accumulation, mass production and high-tech application to improve quality and labour productivity and reduce production costs, Tuan said.

He noted the UCA, founded more than two years ago, still has to do much more to contribute to Vietnam’s agriculture.

According to the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance, cooperative groups and cooperatives make up nearly 4.8 percent of the country’s GDP. There were 21,026 active cooperatives as of June 30 this year, up 934 against the previous year. More than half of these were in agriculture or agricultural service.

Vietnam wants at least 15,000 agricultural cooperatives and cooperative unions operating effectively by 2020.-VNA