Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Cao Duc Phat defended his running of the ministry during question-answer National Assembly hearing in Hanoi on November 20.

In reply to deputies’ concerns about Vietnam’s import of low-quality cashew nuts in service of export, Minister Phat affirmed that growing cashew trees is a central task of the sector.

He blamed low productivity and unstable earnings for the decision by many farmers to chop down cashew trees and cultivate other crops instead.

Given this worrying situation, the ministry has focused on creating high-yield and quality cashew varieties, building cashew production centres and implementing agricultural encouragement projects, he said.

Regarding the agricultural sector’s responsibilities in creating high-yield rice varieties, he said the ministry has implemented research programmes on rice varieties, focusing on those with high, sustainable and stable values.

The minister also tackled questions on the inefficient export of crude agricultural produce, describing this as a major problem faced by the sector and a central component of the country’s agricultural restructuring.

During the session, Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) Nguyen Van Binh presented several incentives offered by banks in support of the agricultural sector.

Binh said the banking system has overhauled its policies towards agriculture, farmers and rural areas, reasoning that Vietnam needs more appropriate mechanisms to thrive in the new period.

Answering NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung’s question on rice stockpiles, the Governor said the SBV has provided adequate capital for the work in a timely manner.

Apart from rice, other key products such as tra and basa fish and coffee have also received financial support from the bank, he added.

Binh said, however, that problems lie with coffee varieties and so the bank has partnered with MARD and localities to select the most appropriate beans to cultivate.

Concluding Minister Phat’s hearing, Chairman Hung said that the queries put to him show the deep attention being paid to agriculture, farmers and rural areas.

He suggested that Minister Phat coordinate with relevant ministries and branches to implement more fundamental solutions for the issues, facilitating the development of agriculture, farmers and rural areas.

The chief legislator tasked the agricultural sector with regaining its GDP growth rate and accelerating the building of new-style rural areas. He also asked the sector to spur agricultural restructuring in a comprehensive manner and report the progress to lawmakers.

It is a must for the sector to proritise the management of agricultural materials, he noted.

After Minister Phat, Minister of Home Affairs Nguyen Thai Binh will answer questions on matters under his charge at the next NA hearing.-VNA