Speaking at a conference on promoting corporate investment in the agricultural sector in Lam Dong Province on Monday, he said agriculture has helped improve the lives of farmers while contributing to the country’s economic growth.
Yet, while 70 per cent of the population works in agriculture, the sector accounts for only 18 per cent of the country’s GDP.
To fix this skew, agriculture needs to be restructured with greater application of science and technology, he said.
In the next 10 years besides being one of the top 15 agricultural countries, the country’s agricultural processing industry must rank in the top 10, he said.
Viet Nam should be the world’s largest processor of and trading hub for agricultural products.
To achieve these goals, 'the core issue is the development of enterprises investing in agriculture,' he said.
He called on ministries and other agencies to continue with administrative reform, especially of procedures related to land use, cutting administrative procedures in vogue in agriculture and rural areas by 50 per cent and amending and simplifying tax procedures.
He also called for improving the quality of planning, promoting competition as part of the market economy mechanism, with a focus on three areas in which the country is in the top five in the world, namely vegetables, fisheries and medicinal plants besides some other strengths such as shrimp and rice.
Reforming trade promotion, with a focus on China, the US and the EU, was another task, he said.
He called for increasing the maximum loan amount without collateral for individuals and households involved in farming and enlarging the categories of beneficiaries of credit policies in hi-tech agriculture.
The Prime Minister called on the business community to foster start-ups, business ethics and a corporate culture, develop businesses in a sustainable manner and uphold the spirit of solidarity to work together with the Government and other stakeholders to take Vietnamese agricultural products to the global market.
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, more than 49,600 companies have made investments in the agricultural sector, creating more than 4,500 jobs.
Last year nine agricultural products fetched the country more than US$1 billion in export earnings, including fisheries with $8.3 billion, cashew with $3.5 billion, fruits and vegetables with $3.5 billion, coffee with $3.24 billion, rice with $2.6 billion and pepper with $1.1 billion.
But Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said notwithstanding these achievements, the agricultural sector remained unsustainable, productivity, quality and efficiency were not high and the competitiveness of many products was low.
'Agricultural production is still fragmented and on a small scale, investment in the agricultural sector remains low, use of technology is still modest, agriculture remains highly dependent on the weather and market for agricultural products is still volatile.”
Amid the country’s deeper international integration, it was imperative to identify ways to enable more Vietnamese enterprises to entrench themselves in the global value chain and create prestigious Vietnamese brands on the international market, he said.
The conference was an opportunity to analyse the advantages and limitations in pushing enterprises to invest in agriculture, come up with appropriate solutions to attract more domestic and foreign players and encourage farming households to expand production.
Nguyen Thi Thanh Thuc, chairwoman and director of Bagico Company, said small enterprises still played an important role in the agricultural value chain and the run-up to full modernisation of agriculture.
She called on the Government to 'open up' to create conditions for enterprises to access national plant genetic resources so that businesses can actively conduct research to create seeds that offer high economic value.
She also said the Government should set up an agricultural economic centre to supply all products related to agriculture, meeting farmers and enterprises’ needs.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said the agriculture sector needed to restructure to focus on key products and make businesses the nucleus of the value chain.
With its advantages in terms of geography and soil, Viet Nam can comfortably develop its agriculture in line with market demand, he added.