The Vietnam Farmers’ Union (VFU) put forth a number of support initiatives to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung during a working session in Hanoi on April 21, some of which won his approval.

They included the proposed construction of State-owned large-scale farm produce warehouses, renewed standards for impoverished and nearly-impoverished households and additional funding for the Central Foundation for Farmers and collective economic models.

The VFU also suggested upgrading vocational training and support centres for provincial farmers’ associations.

Representatives from ministries and agencies offered ideas on providing workforce training and increasing product values.

The PM said the government has asked units concerned to check with existing farm produce warehouses before giving assistance if needed, adding that the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs is working on a set of new poverty and near-poverty standards which is expected to be applied by 2016.

He also agreed with the VFU to join a trade promotion programme for 2015-2020.

According to VFU President Nguyen Quoc Cuong, the union has worked effectively in counselling and vocational training, launched various emulation campaigns and partnered with farmer and international organisations in the region and the world.

However, he admitted a number of shortcomings, including limited funding for agriculture and rural areas, weak connectivity among farmers and the use of sub-standard fertilisers and animal feed harming production and farmers’ lives.

Speaking highly of achievements made by the VFU in 2014 and the first quarter of 2015, the PM said the VFU Central Committee should continue working closely with ministries and agencies to fulfil its assigned tasks.

It was also asked to partner with the government towards achieving common socio-economic goals for 2015 with the VFU playing a significant role in uniting and encouraging farmers to increase their incomes and build new-style rural areas.

The goal is to increase the output and competitiveness of farm produce, mandating the use of technological innovations and shifting to other crops besides rice, the leader said.

On the occasion, he also asked for improved farmer livelihoods, increased supervision over Party and State policies on agricultural production and all possible support for farmers.-VNA