First national forum discusses organic farming

Thursday, 2017-12-28 04:57:14
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NDO/VNA – The first national forum on organic agriculture took place in Ho Chi Minh City on December 27, discussing solutions with which to develop the sector.

The participating experts said that organic farming growth in Vietnam requires the handling of barriers in material input, production-processing, trade, and preferential policies.

They pointed to the fact that farmers are reluctant to shift to the practice due to unproven incomes and markets, high costs and stricter requirements. Many firms operating in the field are yet to receive credit and land assistance from the State. In addition, organic production has become a widespread trend, resulting in rampant and unqualified production and products in the country, they said.

Nguyen Van Bo, former head of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences, proposed that the Government builds a roadmap for the development of organic agriculture, as well as to define the key products and prioritised farming areas.

The completion of a local standard requirement and certification – monitoring system is also necessary, he added.

Le Quoc Phong, deputy head of the Vietnam Organic Agriculture Association, called attention to the management of material input, particularly fertiliser, for organic farming. He said that the quality of organic fertilisers is a major issue, as the use of large amounts of substandard fertilisers poses pollution risks, hence the need for the production of high quality and clean organic fertilisers.

He also said it is important to prevent unhealthy competition from fake organic goods via the establishment of a national certification system.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Tran Thanh Nam said the ministry supports organic farming growth while maintaining food security.

Deputy Minister Tran Thanh Nam noted that the comments by participants at the forum will be included in a draft decree on organic agriculture. The decree is expected to lay a basis for other policies to be issued, after it is approved by the Prime Minister.

Currently, the MARD is working with the Ministry of Science and Technology to review the organic criteria for production, processing, and labeling in line with international standards.

According to the MARD, 33 provinces and cities nationwide have started organic agriculture, with organic farms spanning about 77,000 hectares in 2016, 3.6 times larger than that of 2010.