Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat clarified ways on how to modernise agriculture, build a national brand and new-style rural areas when answering deputies’ queries at the fifth session of the 13th National Assembly (NA) in Hanoi on June 13.

Minister Phat stressed the need to reshape the structure of production, especially products of strength, enhance research and technology transfer, build integrated infrastructure and services, encourage processing and preservation using modern technology while establishing links between farmers and markets to improve the competitiveness of farm produce, an important goal of modern agriculture.

On developing a national brand, he said the ministry is directing research institutes to supply high-quality seeds and breeding animals, and is working with localities to assist farmers in mass production.

As for credit for agriculture and rural development, Minister Phat said the sum is growing rapidly. The banking system directed the supply of credit packages for the consumption of rice, tra fish, shrimp and farmed products.

To spread large-scale paddy fields, the ministry submitted to the Prime Minister incentives to encourage companies to buy farm produce derived from such fields to resolve difficulties.

Joining in the clarification, Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) Nguyen Van Binh said since 2008, credit for farming and rural areas has increased by an average of nearly 20 percent each year. Notably, it doubled in 2010. By December 31, 2012, bank lending surpassed 561.5 trillion VND (26.7 billion USD).

The Governor said the SBV will work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to further uphold the efficiency of policies designed for agriculture, rural areas and farmers.

Building new-style rural areas is a sound policy which is gaining popularity, but poses difficulties in the long term. After three years of implementation, the policy can prove effective if it is approached with determination and in the right manner, he said.

As scheduled, as many as 1,815 communes, or 20 percent of communes nationwide will meet the criteria for building new rural areas by 2015.

Regarding the use of farmland, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Minh Quang said when Vietnam becomes an industrial nation after 2020, farm workers will shift to industry and other services. The pressure on farmland use will lessen and the creation of land for new workers will not be a burning issue like it is now.

Concluding the session, NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung said Minister Phat had answered the questions fully and concretely. If above-mentioned measures are taken, agricultural production will be stimulated and farmers’ lives will get better in the coming time.

Highlighting the significant role of agriculture, farmers and rural areas, Chairman Hung said it is necessary to make more positive changes to improve locals’ lives and reduce poverty in this field from now until 2015. Between 2016 and 2020, a modern agriculture must be built on condition that Vietnam becomes a modern-oriented industrial nation, which is also the desire of voters nationwide.-VNA