National Assembly Economic Committee chairman Nguyen Van Giau said public investment in agriculture and rural areas during the past five years had helped ensure food security, enhance socio-economic infrastructure and contributed to modernising rural areas.
‘The investment has also created employment, reduced poverty, ensured social security and improved living standards for farmers,’ he said.
During the 2006-11 period, public investment for the sector from the State budget and bonds came to more than VND432.7 trillion (US$26.6 billion), accounting for 49.67% of total investment. In the same period, some US$3.8 billion from ODA agreements, mostly large aid loans, were also devoted to investment in agriculture, irrigation, forestry, fisheries, rural development and poverty reduction.
NA deputies also discussed ways to better ensure essential infrastructure for rural areas and organisation of production zones in accordance with consumption and processing capacity.
Deputy Nguyen Van Dong from southern Hau Giang Province called for increasing investment in infrastructure for rural areas, especially in places with ethnic minorities, as local budgets could not afford such a huge investment.
He also asked the Government to draft a special policy for human resources training in the management of agriculture and rural development at grassroots levels.
Deputy Nguyen Tho Lai from northern Tuyen Quang Province said agriculture needed tighter management.
‘The implementation of projects must be supervised closely to prevent local farmers from spontaneous production outside projected areas,’ he said.
Lai also asked for a greater focus on ensuring that farmers who do switch sectors get vocational training in areas that will see high labour demand.
One important area that attracted a great deal of concern from deputies was poverty reduction. Reports showed that by 2011, the rate of poor households in rural areas fell to 9.45%, down from 12% in 2006.
Chairman of the NA Economic Committee Nguyen Van Giau said many poor people had received support from the Government, which had helped them develop small businesses, created jobs and increased local people’s incomes.
‘However, poverty reduction has not been really sustainable,’ he said. ‘The risk of people falling back into poverty is very high.’
Giau added that there were some localities with a high rate of poor households, especially in the northern mountainous region. He also highlighted the large income gap and difference in living standards between rural and urban areas.