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Six key solutions to develop 'agriculture - countryside - farmers'

Cao Duc Phat - former Deputy Head of the Standing Committee of the Central Economic Commission, former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

The Political Report submitted to the 13th Party Congress had stated: "Continue to effectively implement the policy of restructuring agriculture, and developing agriculture and rural economy in association with new rural construction towards "Ecological agriculture - Vibrant countryside - Innovative farmers”.

In the Party's renewal policy, there are several concepts that need to be clarified, especially about "Ecological agriculture”, “Vibrant countryside”, and “Innovative farmers”.

Six key solutions to develop 'agriculture - countryside - farmers'

Dr. Cao Duc Phat - former Deputy Head of the Standing Committee of the Central Economic Commission, former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Photo: Duc Thanh.

Ideas and approaches towards an equitable and sustainable food system

Several years ago our Party advocated promoting the process of industrialization and modernization of agriculture and rural areas. Now the United Nations has made a lot of recommendations on inclusive and sustainable development. To adapt to climate change, the concept of “climate-smart farming” is proposed.

Circular agriculture becomes a hot topic in terms of resource utilization and healthy development. To meet the requirements of food safety and protect the organic agricultural environment developing in many places, the EU advocates that by 2030, at least 25% of the crop area will be organically grown. Amidst the wave of digital economy, agriculture is also under digital transformation.

Since 2015 the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has introduced an approach - Ecological agriculture.

According to the latest definition released by FAO in 2015 and agreed by 175 member countries: “Ecological agriculture is an integrated approach, applying simultaneously eco-social concepts and principles to construct and manage agricultural and food systems. This approach optimizes the interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment and considers other social factors to work towards an equitable and sustainable food system.”

Ecoagriculture does not preclude the application of suitable farming methods or technical foundations.

A modern countryside must have a developed economy

Rural development towards modernity is the political determination of the Party to hasten the improvement of living standards for the rural population, making rural areas more involved and contributive in the country’s comprehensive development.

Rural modernization needs to be carried out in many aspects, including economy, society, environment, security and national defense: A modern countryside must have a developed economy with infrastructure and services that approach urban standards; people's lives are improved; social relations are healthy and national cultural identities are well-promoted; the environment is highly resistant to climate change, natural disasters, epidemics and other adverse fluctuations; politics are stable while security, safety and social orders are ensured.

Expectations are indeed high, but identifying the right milestones to work towards and achieving them in each phase with certainty hold practical implications.

On the other hand, the formation of civilized farmers must be seen from all levels of class, community, family, and individual, and comprehensively from physical, mental, political, cultural and social aspects.

A strategic vision for 'agriculture - countryside - farmers'

In order to realize these expectations, a number of actions must be put into consideration:

Firstly, it is necessary to accelerate the transformation of agriculture towards the ecological path as well as promote the development of organic agriculture and circular agriculture.

Secondly, new and modern rural construction must go in line with urbanization. Competent units need to establish policies to encourage the development of industry and services, enough to resolve issues regarding employment for rural laborers. Also the development of rural infrastructure requires more attention.

Thirdly, civilized farmer forces must be well-established, ready to master the agricultural and rural development process. The development and implementation of the program "Renovate and improve rural vocational training quality in the 2021 - 2030 period " must soon be realized. The aim is to secure the resources to train at least 1.8 million workers annually, with 30% of which learn agricultural trades while the rest learn non-agricultural occupations.

Fourthly, the development of science and technology will become the key driving force for agricultural and rural development and serve as the foundation to promote digital transformation. Agriculture and particularly the countryside can therefore participate more proactively in the fourth industrial revolution.

Fifthly, it is necessary to amend the land law in the direction of making full use of the market mechanism to reallocate and encourage effective land use. The aim is to overcome the shortcomings in land acquisition, compensation and clearance in order to ensure social justice and stability.

Sixthly, the Party has to strengthen its leadership role, at the same time improving the effectiveness of state management and promoting the capacity of socio-political organizations. It is deemed essential to consolidate the entire state management of agriculture in a professional manner, capable of meeting new requirements.

Authors: Dr. Cao Duc Phat

Translated by Samuel Pham

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