The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide over 3 million USD to help five Vietnamese provinces develop new models of agricultural cooperatives during the 2012-2014 period.

An agreement to this effect was signed in Hanoi on Oct. 26 between the Department of Cooperatives and Rural Development under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and JICA. This is the second phase of a project on enhancing functions of agricultural cooperatives in Vietnam .

The five beneficiary provinces include Thai Binh, Hoa Binh, Hai Duong in the north, Binh Dinh in the central region and An Giang in the Mekong Delta.

MARD Deputy Minister Ho Xuan Hung underlined the significance of multifunctional cooperatives at a time when Vietnamese farmers are facing difficulties in both production and consumption while former models often focus on only agricultural production.

Motonori Tsuno, Chief Representative of JICA Vietnam Office, said Japan is experienced in developing multifunctional cooperatives, adding he believes expanding models of cooperatives based on results recorded in the first phase of the project will help improve living standards of Vietnamese farmers.

The first phase of the project was carried out from March, 2006 to September, 2010 in Thai Binh and Hoa Binh provinces./.