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Vietnam searching for new rural policy
25 | 07 | 2007
After 20 years of Doi Moi, Vietnam has recorded remarkable achievements in developing national economy, national construction, in particular in agriculture development and rural economy. Generally, farm income level has increased nearly 2-3 times. In 2004, poverty rate down by 20% compared to 2002. However, the rural area of the country is facing a lot of challenges. In order to help farmers in solving their difficulties and to develop Vietnam rural area in the process of integration and industrialization, Vietnam MARD leaders put high priority on finding out a new rural policy for and acknowledge it as a national policy.

In that context, Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agricultural and rural development has created a number of policy dialogs, aiming to mobilize views and discussion from different stakeholders, among senior researchers, consultants in this field.


To date, Vietnam has been still an agricultural based economy with low level of living standard. Personal income per capita is about USD 600 per annum. Rural population accounts for over 77% of the national population, and there is about 66% of national labor force working in rural areas. Economic structural transition is sluggish and uneven among regions. The gap in income, livelihood condition and labor productivity between urban and rural areas, agricultural and other sectors is growing.


According to Dr. Dang Kim Son, the rural is facing a series of  problems which are small scale and fragmented production, poor technology, low productivity and products quality, weak cooperation, not competitiveness, sluggish structural transition. The rural labor is abundant, but lacking job opportunities popularly. Environment pollution in production and living condition is getting increasingly worse. The process of transfer the purposes of land using and refunding are not implemented as right way and faced with many obstacles. “These difficulties and obstacles are arising in the new phase of economic development process under the impact of industrialization, urbanization, and globalization. Only by removing them can restore the agricultural growth rate is tend to fall in recent years, gradually remove  social, political, environmental  contradictions arising in rural areas to achieve a future sustainable and stable development”, he noted.


According to Nguyen Trung researcher, a new policy for agriculture and rural development is considered as a national policy. The government’s support policies to help farmers to take part in commercialization process of the economy will be a sustainable and long-term orientation. It is a practical activity which is not properly assessed and implemented now. However, how farmers can themselves “bargain” in the market? So, supporting farmers to be organized their real cooperative institution is very important, too.


In the context of Vietnam deeply joining in international economy, Dr. Le Dang Doanh said that it is necessary to enact regulations and mechanisms in solving the beneficial relationship between enterprises and farm households. Looking at Korean experiences, their farmers have rights buy equity and insurance service through enterprises which investing in their land, instead of compensating them for a large sum of money. This method can reduce the “shock” for farmers until they can find a new livelihood replacing traditional agricultural activities.


Both Dr. Tuong Lai, and a very famous writer Nguyen Ngoc - acknowledged that it is necessary to frankly evaluate all former unsuccessful lessons as a foundation to formulate the new policy for agricultural development in the coming time. The case of Thai Binh province in 1996 and Central highland are cited as two typical for the failure of rural development policies since it doesn’t based on research about distinct socio - economic and cultural  characteristics of each regions.


To sum up, Mr. Le Huy Ngo, former minister of MARD, the most fundamental issues in policy for agriculture and rural development are the unsatisfied solving for ownership and planning of rural and agricultural land. Policy planning task of rural development in the current phase needs to base on the basis of inter-sectors scientific research, broad discussion to collect many different attitudes. Therefore, this topic will be broadly discussed in the coming time with the participation of many agencies, organizations, individuals, especially farmers who are mainly beneficiaries of these policies.


Hoang Ngan (www.agro.gov.vn)
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