A number of prioritised areas in which Vietnam is calling for international assistance during the implementation of the national target programme on building new-style rural areas have been identified at a forum in Hanoi on May 14.

They cover supporting agricultural production to raise rural residents’ incomes, improving their spiritual lives; and protecting the environment and natural resources as well as coping with climate change.

Poverty reduction, organisational reform through public-private connections and investment attraction in rural areas, and improving policy quality through research and lessons drawn from real models are also included in the list.

Speaking at the forum, on behalf of international bilateral donors, Director of the French Development Agency (AFD) Jean-Marc Gravellini said his agency targets deep and reasonable growth models, job creation and efficient use of resources in Vietnam .

During the 2013-2015 period, the AFD will assist Vietnam in modernising production areas that may affect the environment and social development, combining agricultural sectors and boosting high-quality vocational training, he added.

Henning Pedersen, Country Programme Manager of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), praised Vietnam ’s success in mobilising resources from localities for infrastructure development.

However, he indicated the programme’s limitations in improving rural people’s livelihoods, reducing poverty or creating links with major donors such as the World Bank and the IFAD.

The IFAD proposed that the Vietnamese Government encourage the private sector to take part in the programme, help poor people access the market by upgrading infrastructure and identifying the market while revamping financial services.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat also pointed out weaknesses during the implementation of the national target programme, especially in agricultural production and improving rural residents’ incomes.

He highlighted the need to learn from foreign countries’ experience in this field, noting that Vietnam has created opportunities for the programme’s insiders to discuss and share difficulties in the work.

The forum was jointly held by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the International Support Group.