A seminar on developing the collective agricultural sector was held in HCM City on June 21 by the HCM City Farmers Association (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) - Local cooperatives need to mobilise capital from their members or cooperate with enterprise members to improve their production and trading, the HCM City Cooperative Alliance has said.

Speaking at a seminar on developing the collective economic model in agriculture in Ho Chi Minh City this week, Bui Tran Huy Vinh of the HCM City Cooperative Alliance, said: “The Capital Aid Fund for Cooperative Members of HCM City (CCM Fund) provided loans worth 1.52 trillion VND (65.4 million USD) to 60,849 applicants last year and 332.3 billion VND (14.2 million USD) to 11,510 applicants in the first half of this year.

“The money has helped cooperatives and their members, thereby contributing to economic development and building rural areas and reducing usury.”

"But many cooperatives are unable to borrow from banks or the CCM Fund since they lack assets to mortgage or feasible business plans," he said.

Nguyen Van Luong of the HCM City Farmers Association said in addition to the difficulty in getting loans on easy terms, cooperatives and co-operative groups also faced other difficulties such as low productivity, lack of steady outlets for their products and lack of qualified human resources.

Vinh said cooperatives needed to be more active in raising capital from members.

“Cooperatives themselves need to make the effort and should not depend on the Government‘s support.”

A representative of the city’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said agro-forestry and fisheries production was worth 21.4 trillion VND (926.15 million USD) last year, a year-on-year increase of 6.2 percent.

To enable the collective agricultural sector to develop more efficiently, the department had proposed many measures, including providing loans for hi-tech agriculture, organising trade promotion activities to boost consumption of cooperatives’ products and organising programmes to enhance transfer of farming and animal breeding technologies and models that can adapt to climate change and saltwater intrusion, he said.

The city sought to achieve rural per capita income of 100 million VND by 2025 and ensure 20 percent of the population joins cooperatives compared to 11.9 percent now, he said.

"The collective economic sector, especially cooperatives, plays an important role in achieving the targets," he said.

Nguyen Thi Bach Mai, Chairwoman of the HCM City Farmers Association, said the association had drafted a plan on “One District, One Cooperative model on hi-tech agricultural material supply, and hi-tech agricultural production and consumption in 2019-2023” to enable restructure of the agricultural sector.

The city has 85 cooperatives and one union of cooperative in the agricultural sector, with most of them growing vegetables, orchids or mushroom or raising dairy cattle, pigs, crocodiles, shrimp, or fish.

Cooperatives have gradually established their brands and their product quality has steadily improved, enough to be sold by large supermarket chains such as Co.opmart, Big C, Aeon, and VinMart.

At the seminar, the association signed agreements with retailers, including Saigon Co.op and VinMart, to sell products.-VNS/VNA