The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had exerted great efforts to build brands for Vietnamese farm produce and created favourable conditions for domestic firms to manufacture agricultural machinery over the last three years, Deputy Minister Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu said at a recent meeting in Hanoi.

She added that the efforts were made under the Vietnamese people use Vietnamese products campaign.

Thu said several models had been tested to improve agricultural production, including public-private-partnership, to help the sector meet global challenges in food security, have greater access to technology and link farmers to markets, the meeting heard.

The creation of large-scale paddy farms by having farmers co-operate with each other to realise economies of scale was another model implemented with the aim of improving produce quality and reducing post-harvest losses.

For the last three years, the ministry also worked with the Viet Nam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development to fund domestic enterprises in making 10,000 units of agricultural machinery.

This campaign succeeding in making farmers aware of the benefits of using Vietnamese products, and the machinery makers also learnt to better understand and respond to the needs of farmers, the meeting heard.

Le Van Hanh, a farmer with the Thien Tay Co-operative in central Quang Tri Province , said, "When we bought a made-in-Viet-Nam harvesting machine worth 240 million VND (11,280 USD), farmers could borrow 150 million VND (7,000 USD) without paying interest for two years from the Agribank's Quang Tri Branch.

"If the weather is good, a farmer can get about 70 million VND (3,300 USD) per year, and we can repay the loan after two years."

Truong Cong Dung, deputy director of the bank branch, said that since June 2011, they have lent 1.8 billion VND (84,600 USD) for local farmers in the province to buy 12 made-in-Viet-Nam harvesting machines.

Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat said that in the coming years, his ministry would concentrate on improving quality of several agricultural produce including rice, coffee, cashew and pepper to better serve domestic and foreign consumers.

Ensuring food safety and hygiene would continue to be a top priority, he said.

The ministry also planned to enhance connections between farmers and enterprises to step-by-step build an internationally recognised brand for Vietnamese rice, he said.

Speaking at the meeting, Nguyen Thien Nhan, Chairman of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front Central Committee, said that the main task of the ministry in the coming time should not only be to ensure food safety and hygiene, but also provide more preferential policies for farmers to purchase harvesting machines.

The ministry should also offer greater support for domestic enterprises to manufacture agricultural machinery of high quality at low cost.

Finally, a thorough assessment should be made of the three-year campaign to have Vietnamese people use and buy Vietnamese goods, in order to identify areas it has been effective and where improvements are needed, he said.-VNA