On 29 August 2014, the International Cooperation Department, International Support Group (ISG), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development held the Launching workshop on 03 restructuring action plans of crop production, livestock and fisheries sub-sectors within the framework of technical assistance funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and called for the international community to continue their support for Viet Nam agricultural sector restructuring towards greater added value and sustainable development.
Minister Cao Duc Phat and Mr. Jong-Ha Bae, FAO Chief Representative in Hanoi presided over the meeting.
In his opening speech, Minister Cao Duc Phat affirmed, over the past 30 years, agriculture sector has played a particularly crucial role in maintaining food security, creating jobs and raising incomes for 70% of the population, along with alleviating poverty as well as assuring social and political stability. However, as the sector has begun to reveal some weaknesses, the implementation of restructuring is an inevitable requirement for the sector's sustainable development. The Minister said that the restructuring scheme advocated agricultural production development following market signals and consumer demand and the government's role shifting from the direct service provider to the promoter of a healthy business environment and the facilitator of investments and services provided by other economic sectors. Also, the restructuring scheme proposes reconsidering the role of stakeholders in the "Government - Enterprises – Civil society" relationship by enhancing cooperation between provincial authority, private sector, farmer/community organization and scientists – the so-called "4 actors" along the value chain. The restructuring process requires changes in the sector development approach from physical targets to indicators related to the "triple bottom line: economic-environment-social perspectives" for Viet Nam agriculture.
Minister Cao Duc Phat expressed his sincere gratitude to the international community for their support in the agricultural and rural development process and especially agricultural sector restructuring towards greater added value and sustainable development.
At the meeting, FAO representative affirmed, the perspectives of FAO support for the development process focused on the people and how to raise the income of farmers. Therefore, in regard to the agriculture sector restructuring scheme, FAO will support the sector in 4 priority areas. For the first area: effective policies and legal framework on rural livelihood, food and nutrition security and food safety, FAO focuses on support policy and institutional reforms. For the remaining three sectors: climate change adaptation and mitigation; improving the provision of goods and services from agriculture, forestry and fisheries in a sustainable manner; enabling more inclusive and efficient agricultural and food system for rural vulnerable groups, FAO will provide science and technology support.
"Viet Nam Sustainable Agriculture Transformation Project" (vnSAT) is currently funded by the World Bank, with a focus on rice in the Mekong Delta, coffee in the Central Highlands and other areas towards sustainable development. This could be a crucial support for sustainable development of Viet Nam's agriculture.
Regarding the restructuring schemes of three sub-sectors, Mr. David Devine, Ambassador of Canada to Vietnam assessed: "As Vietnam moves towards a growth model based on increased competitiveness, labor productivity, value-added production and environmental sustainability; institutional changes to improve government transparency and accountability and to provide space for meaningful citizen and private sector engagement in economic policy and market decisions will become critical.
"New incentives for investment in agriculture would attract more Canadian investors to Vietnam, especially in areas of advanced technologies and environmental services. Canada commits to continuing to support Vietnam in these efforts by aligning our future programming with Vietnam’s needs while focusing on those areas where Canada can add value from both a development and trade perspective", Mr. David Devine said.
Attending the workshop, representatives from international organizations and localities shared the priority orientations of the restructuring process of crop production, livestock and fisheries – major sectors in agricultural development - as well as the commitments to the successful implementation of agriculture sector restructuring.