The first congress of the Vietnam Organic Agriculture Association (VOA) was held in Hanoi on May 22, electing a 19-member executive board for the 2012-2017 period.

Ha Phuc Mich , Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Farmers’ Association (VFA) was elected as VOA Chairman.

Addressing the congress, VFA Chairman Nguyen Quoc Cuong highly valued the role of organic production in the development of sustainable agriculture, affirming that organic production is the target of the country’s agriculture.

Representatives from the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) stressed the need for establishment of a national organic agriculture organisation, saying it ensures the development of the organic sector and benefits Vietnam .

The first VOA congress outlined its key tasks as increasing promotion of information on Party and State policies and domestic and international information relating to organic agriculture, as well as expanding international cooperation in organic agriculture.

It also agreed to provide knowledge on organic agriculture to its members and consultancy to the Party and State on mechanisms and policies to create a legal corridor for Vietnam ’s development of organic agriculture.

By the end of 2009, IFOAM had certified 160 countries around the world in organic agriculture, with 37.2 million hectares of organic agriculture land or 0.9 percent of the world’s agriculture land.

In Vietnam , 14,000 hectares have been put under organic cultivation, accounting for 0.14 percent of the country’s agricultural land. Of this, aquaculture makes up 7,000 hectares. Thirteen producers are qualified for organic recognition and they are producing shrimps, basa fish, tea and cashew nuts./.