Farm co-operatives need more support hinh anh 1A member of Phuoc An Agriculture Cooperative takes care of vegetable in HCM City (Photo:

Hanoi (VNA) - The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Vietnam Co-operative Alliance have announced policy plans to support farming co-operatives by making them more competitive.

Although the Law on Co-operatives from 2012 authorised support to co-operatives including training, technology application, capital and trade promotion, the support had yet to make an impact, agriculture minister Cao Duc Phat said at a recent meeting in Hanoi.

Many agriculture co-operatives did not identify their development orientation or key products to meet the market demand, Phat said.

They failed to expand production and benefit members of the co-operative, with only 10 percent of the total 10,450 agriculture co-operatives operating effectively, Phat added. About 80 percent had moderate performance, while the remaining 10 percent reportedly had poor operations.

Almost all of the co-operatives concentrated on agriculture production, but paid little attention to finding markets or establishing themselves in the product-supply chain, he said.

"Each co-operative should not be seen as an independent economic entity, but part of a value chain that follows market rules," Phat said.

Chairman of Vietnam Co-operative Alliance Vo Kim Cu said agriculture co-operatives comprised up to half of the total co-operatives in localities.

While participants of agriculture firms and co-operatives expect to receive some positive benefits from international trade agreements like Trans-Pacific Partnership, they also feel vulnerable due to increased competition.

"Farmers are not clear on the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership or Asian Economic Community, but they are feeling tougher and tougher competition from outside," Cu said.

"They see the need for associating," he said. "Farming households associate into a group and groups associate into a co-operative. Co-operatives strengthen co-operation with banks and distributors."

Cu called for more support from the agriculture ministry in terms of financing and technology.

For example, Cu said the ministry should provide about 50 million VND (2,200 USD) for each co-operative's start-up and help them apply biotechnology in their production for higher productivity and lower costs.-VNA