Vietnamese PM sets ambitious target for agricultural sector

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has set a target for the agricultural sector to rake in US$44 billion from exports in 2021.
December 26, 2020 | 10:45
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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc delivered a speech at the meeting to summarize the work in 2020 of the agricultural sector. (Photo: VGP / Quang Hieu)

During a teleconference Thursday afternoon to review the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s performance in 2020 and set tasks for 2021, PM Phuc said that agriculture, farmers and rural development continued to be an important mainstay of the economy despite challenges and difficulties this year, especially because of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Addressing a review meeting in Hanoi on Dec. 24, Phuc noted that despite numerous difficulties in 2020, agricultural production remain a key pillar of the national economy.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam has not only ensured its national food security but also exported large volumes of farm produce abroad, said the PM, adding that Vietnamese rice has beat Thai and Indian rice, topping the world in terms of the price.

In 2020 the agricultural sector secured an overall growth rate of 2.65%. It earned more than US$41 billion from exports, up 2.5% compared to the previous year. Notably, five staples bagged US$3 billion from exports each, of which timber brought back over US$12.8 billion, shrimp US$3.66 billion, vegetables and fruits US$3.35 billion, cashew nuts US$3.24 billion and rice US$3.07 billion, reported VOV.

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Rice is one of the major hard currency earners of Vietnam in 2020 despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. (photo:

Having affirmed that Vietnamese agriculture has great potential and opportunities that can be exploited, especially in the fourth Industrial Revolution, the PM urged the Government and the business community to work together to push Vietnam up into the leading position around the globe in terms of agricultural products.

PM Phuc stressed that it is necessary to further improve the productivity of rural labour by reorganising production, applying scientific and technological advances and reorganising the market. Growth and labour productivity in agriculture and rural areas is still great, he said, urging the need to promote it through favourable institutions, policies and laws.

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PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (second from left) inspected a clean agricultural production model in Duc Trong district, Lam Dong province in 2018. (Photo: Nhandan)

Regarding the processing industry in agriculture, he said 68 farm produce processing plants have been built over the past five years, including 20 establishments constructed in 2020. Targets in new rural development have also been surpassed.

The PM also praised the agriculture sector for making efforts in flood and drought prevention and control, helping to mitigate losses of human lives and property.

Apart from risks related to extreme weather conditions, he said there were and would be a lot of opportunities offered by 14 new-generation free trade deals, including the European Union-Việt Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

For 2021, the PM required the sector to spare no efforts to achieve a growth rate of around 3 per cent, increase the value of agro-forestry-fisheries production by over 3 per cent and raise forest coverage to 42 per cent, plant 1 billion trees in urban, remote and rural areas, establish 2,000 new agriculture cooperatives to raise the total number to about 20,000, 16,500 of them operate effectively.

He asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to allocate mid-term capital for the sector for the 2021-25 period, including stepping up the adoption of digital technology for production and consumption as well as attracting more enterprises to agriculture, especially foreign-invested firms.

Localities and producers were required to supply high-quality products with good designs and food safety to the domestic market, ensure the supply of pork at reasonable prices for the upcoming Tết (Lunar New Year) festival.

So far, 62 per cent of communes nationwide were recognised as new-style rural areas, up 8 per cent from 2019. Up to 173 district-level units gained the status, or 61 higher than last year. The provinces of Nam Dinh, Hung Yen, and Dong Nai have completed new-style rural building and nine other cities and provinces are completing procedures to fulfil the task, according to the VNA.

Some 859 million trees were prepared for afforestation, while 220,000 ha of new forests have been planted this year, achieving the set target, heard the conference

The PM expected that the sector would accelerate its restructuring to obtain at least US$44 billion from exports in 2021. To this end, he asked the sector to turn ‘risk’ into opportunity’

“The risk here is the climatic extreme, but we have the experience of dealing with natural disasters. On the other hand, the door is wide open for us when we have participated in 14 new generation free trade agreements,” said Phuc.

The PM also suggested that localities and agricultural producers pay more attention to the domestic market, offering high quality products and meeting food safety regulations.

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