Workers at the HCM City-based Tan Binh Export Foodstuff JSC process seafood for export.(Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - HCM City will strive to maintain 6 percent growth in agro-forestry and fisheries outputs this year, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

It also targets increasing average agricultural revenue per hectare from 375 million VND (16,700 USD) last year to 420 million VND this year.

Speaking at a review meeting held on January 13, the department's deputy director, Huynh Thi Kim Cuc, said despite many difficulties agro-forestry and fisheries production grew by 6 percent last year, or 2.3 times the national rate.

Crop production grew by 4.4 percent, animal husbandry by 4.9 percent, agricultural services by 11.8 percent, forestry by 4.6 percent, and fisheries by 8.6 percent, she said.

This was the result of following an urban agricultural model, which meant reducing low-yield rice growing areas and increasing the area under high-value ornamental trees and safe vegetables as well as dairy farming, she said.

The area under vegetables last year increased by 2.7 percent to 14,500ha, and output was 366,704 tonnes.

The city had around 2,250ha under flowering plants and ornamental trees last year, up 5.6 percent, she said.

The city had a total of 160,000 cows, a year-on-year increase of 25.7 percent, including 103,000 dairy cows that produced 275,000 tonnes of fresh milk, accounting for 42.6 percent of the country's output.

The number of pigs and seafood output went up by 30 percent and 6.3 percent, she said.

City companies exported 262 tonnes of corn and vegetable seeds to several countries, including the US, Japan, and Israel, besides large quantities of fruits and vegetables, flowers, ornamental trees and fishes, and crocodiles, she said.

But the agricultural sector also faces difficulties like high risk of natural disasters, diseases and demand volatility, she said.

Besides, small scale of production and failure to use advanced technologies precluded sustainable development, she said.

To achieve this year's targets, she said the city would continue to move towards urban agriculture, especially in increasing use of high-tech methods, including bio-technology, to provide safe and high-quality products.

It would strive to develop linkages between production and consumption to ensure steady demand, she said.

Le Thanh Liem, Deputy Chairman of the municipal People's Committee, called on the agricultural sector to focus on certain products in which the city has advantages and improving rural infrastructure.

Raising awareness among farmers about the application of good agricultural practices is imperative, he added.

Le Dinh Duc, Deputy Chairman of the rural Cu Chi District's People's Committee, said the city should improve its forecast of agricultural supply and demand to avoid price volatility.-VNA