Ready to ensure victuals for domestic market and exports


ready to ensure victuals for domestic market and exports
, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Phung Duc Tien

The Covid-19 pandemic is having complex developments across the country, causing impacts on agricultural production activities. What are the orientations and plans of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to maintain production and ensure food supply?

Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien: The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has a specific and detailed plan.

In terms of food, this year will strive to reach 43 million tonnes of rice that is distributed as follows: 14.5 million tonnes for domestic consumption; 7.5 million tonnes for processing, 3.5 million tonnes for reserve, 1 million tonnes for seeding and 13.5-13.8 million tonnes for exports.

Regarding vegetables, the whole year production capacity is more than 18 million tonnes, of which more than 4 million tonnes are for export; about fruits also topped 5 million tonnes. In addition, the fishery output for the whole year is estimated at 8.6 million tonnes; livestock production reached 5.6 million tonnes of meat, 15 billion eggs and 1.2 million tonnes of milk.

The seasons in agricultural production have been calculated more flexibly. For example, in the last planting season, the industry organised to plant early by 15-20 days to avoid salinity intrusion. Currently, cultivation is in the direction of reducing area and increasing productivity, so it still achieves the required output. In the field of poultry and aquaculture, now the price of aminal feed increases, it should recalculate the feeding cycle.

Besides ensuring domestic food supply, could you please tell us how difficult it will be to ensure the export target of agriculture, forestry and fishery in the context of the complex development of the Covid-19 pandemic?

Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien: Besides the Covid-19 pandemic, the agricultural industry is facing other difficulties. However, Vietnam has a specific agro-ecological system different from other countries. With 13,500 businesses, 17,000 cooperatives, more than 34,000 farms and 8.6 million farming households, it has formed a relatively stable ecosystem to ensure food supply.

Along with improving the traceability factor and ensuring the supply, the whole industry can ensure the export target. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is requesting localities, especially businesses, to pay more attention in branding. This content that has been deployed for many years, but it must be concentrated on the brand element and the product must be traceable.

We expect that the improvement of the business environment, in the coming time, more large firms will invest in the agricultural sector. If large enterprises connecting with farms, cooperatives and farmers, Vietnam’s agricultural industry will have a sustainable ecosystem and stable supply, thereby also helping to export better.

Some people think in the entire agricultural production chain, it should pay special attention to ensuring the safety of the processing stage to minimise the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on domestic food security as well as export products. What is your point of view about this?

Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien: Currently, processing units are an important stage to promote domestic production as well as ensure exports. In the past time, besides directing the farming and exploitation areas, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has also focused on directing to keep the safety of processing plants. Most processing facilities provide on-site accommodation for workers, performing 5K principles well, so there are no processing enterprises in the agricultural industry that have encountered with the outbreak of the disease.

ready to ensure victuals for domestic market and exports
this year will strive to reach 43 million tonnes of rice

Besides focusing on regime change, can you tell us more about the production orientation to cope with the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic?

Deputy Minister Phung Duc Tien: The pandemic situation is complex, it is necessary to implement synchronous solutions. First of all, in terms of restructuring, three product axes will be focused on: National products, regional products, and local products; depending on subjects and ecozones, it will have a specific navigation. Besides that, it is necessary to create a really favourable environment for enterprises; it is necessary to forecast more accurately on the market to produce and supply for 100 million people and the export market.

Furthermore, coordination between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and localities in restructuring must be strictly implemented. Product consumption must also coordinate with the Ministry of Industry and Trade flexibly and proactively. For example, the price of shutchi catfish in the south has declined recently, and the two ministries have connected the southern market and northern markets. Learning from lessons of the previous outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, when some localities could not get their agricultural products consumed, this time there will be more flexible applications.

Notably, the promotion of science and technology application is seen as an important solution, especially in current and future situations. Presently, the most difficult issue is the processing infrastructure, warehouses, especially cold storage. Meanwhile, to upgrade infrastructure, it is necessary to mobilise a lot of capital and technology. Although agricultural trade has made many strides in recent years, agricultural infrastructure has only accounted for 5.7% of the budget. This is a constraint, especially in the context of increasingly complex and unpredictable natural disasters.

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