Avocado fruits were packaged for export. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Accelerating agricultural restructuring towards large-scale and high-tech production became critical for the sector, which involves 70 percent of the country’s population but contributes just below 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

At a recent working session with the Prime Minister’s economic consulting team, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said the agricultural sector was facing growing competition and technical barriers.

The minister said the restructuring process helped improve the production capacity significantly with many products now in surplus.

However, small-scale production and low productivity were still problems that needed a resolution, Cuong said, adding Vietnam has 8.6 million farmer households and 78 million fields.

The minister asked the PM’s team to study and propose policies to reduce the proportion of labour in agriculture, attract investments in infrastructure, especially in the irrigation system, develop markets and improve land policies.

According to director of the Central Institute for Economic Management Nguyen Dinh Cung, it was important to remove bottlenecks in land policies, especially land limit, to encourage investments and promote large-scale production.

Truong Dinh Tuyen, former Minister of Commerce (now the Ministry of Industry and Trade) said Vietnam should develop the food and food-processing industry but be selective as many fresh products could be sold for high prices.

In addition to this, developing standards and promoting their application in production as well as enhancing quality control to improve product quality were critical to boost exports with high-added value.

The agriculture ministry’s statistics showed that Vietnam earned 3.09 billion USD from exporting agro-forestry-fishery products in January, a rise of 25.9 percent over the same month last year.

Agro-forestry-fishery exports hit 33 billion USD in 2017, representing a rise of 13.8 percent against the previous year.-VNA