Trần Hoàng Ngân, director of Hồ Chí Minh City Cadre Academy, talks to Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper about the need to focus more investment in agricultural development – Viet Nam’s primary industry
A switch from industrial focus to agricultural focus
The overall picture of our country has changed notably in the course of industrialisation and modernisation. Much agricultural land has been revoked for industrial parks or real estate. However, in many places, for one reason or another, large land areas have been left fallow. It is reported about $150 billion from Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has been poured into many sectors, including industry, services, real estates and others. But, the dark side of the story is our environment has been seriously violated in many places.
It is undeniable that FDI projects in the industry have provided jobs for many people and contributed up to 70 per cent for national export turnover and 18 per cent of GDP. And, thanks to FDI, Việt Nam has become a workshop and participated in the goods export chain internationally.
However, we have not fully utilised the advantages that we have in our land and the tropical climate as an agricultural country. What we have achieved in industrial development so far is not on par with our potential and what the price we have paid for such development. Why? Until now, our main industry focuses mainly on processing. As a result the added value remains very low.
In almost 30 years of attracting foreign investment, I’m sorry to say that technology transfer remains modest. Worse still, the problem of price transferring has caused a big loss in tax collection to our State budget.
More recently, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 incident seriously affected our revenue collection in the first quarter of 2017.
Mismatch between supply and demand
The recent pig crisis was a deadly blow for many pig farmers due to a big mismatch between supply and demand.
In the past, our farmers were struck by a crisis in the mismatch between supply and demand with tra (cattle) fish, rice, bananas, dragon fruits, water melons and others. Those crises seriously weakened our farmers’ production capacity. As a consequence many of them have become poor again.
It is time for us to think of a way to help our farmers produce products by applying high technology with higher yield and cleaner products.
And it is also time for authorities and scientists to find solutions to help farmers in sustainable agriculture production so that they don’t leave their homes to urban areas to make a living.
A change for the better
It is undeniable if we don’t make a change in agricultural production, farmers will be the ones who bear the burden. In my opinion, to solve this problem, the government should come up with specific solutions to help the farmers stand on their own feet in their homes. The government should prioritise agricultural development, instead of giving so much attention to industrial development.
For the immediate future, the government should focus more investment on agriculture mechanisation as globalisation has been taking place very quickly, bringing high demand for chain production.
To achieve this, the government’s immediate task is to solve the problem of land limits in agricultural production. In tandem with this the government should also adopt a good plan for agricultural production while encouraging different economic entities, including FDI to invest in agriculture – our present primary industry. Social investment in agriculture is just about 5-6 per cent while the sector contributes up to 16.5 per cent to GDP._VNS