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VNFU-MARD: Cooperation on developing images of smart farmers
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On August 16 afternoon, at the meeting, Mr. Luong Quoc Doan, Chairman Vietnam Farmers’ Union (VNFU) and Mr. Le Minh Hoan, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) emphasized that the two sides made joint efforts to develop the image of new - generation farmers who are ready to link and cooperate for efficient production. 
Chairman Luong Quoc Doan suggested that MARD and VNFU could promote their cooperation in collective economic development, propagandizing and mobilizing farmers to promote linkages with each other and form farmers’ profession branches and groups, thereby forming effective collective economic models. Photo: P.V

On August 16,  in Hanoi, MARD and VNFU organized a meeting to discuss about programs that the two sides can cooperate in the near future.

Vocational training for farmers
According to Mr. Luong Quoc Doan, VNFU Chairman, MARD and VNFU can implement many cooperation programs to develop agriculture, farmers and rural areas in the new period in accordance with the spirit of the 13th Party Congress, which is to develop ecological agriculture, modern countryside and smart farmers. 

According to VNFU Chairman, in recent years, VNFU has promoted the development of farmers’ profession branches and groups in order to lay concrete foundation for collective economic development. VNFU also has strengths in propaganda and vocational training for farmers, etc.

From the fact, Mr. Luong Quoc Doan proposed a number of areas that MARD and VNFU can strengthen their cooperation on in the coming time. 

In particular, the two sides can promote the cooperation in collective economic development, propagandize and mobilize farmers to promote linkages with each other, form farmers’ profession branches and groups, thereby, forming effective collective economic models. 

Besides, vocational training for farmers is an area that MARD and VNFU can cooperate to promote in the coming time.

"VNFU has a system of vocational training centers in the provinces with adequate facilities, which enables us to coordinate with the units of the Ministry to strengthen vocational training for farmers and train agricultural skills for farmers."  emphasized Mr. Luong Quoc Doan. 

Mr. Luong Quoc Doan also informed that in the past time, VNFU had actively participated with the local authorities to build and develop OCOP products, which had been highly appreciated by the localities. It can be one area for the cooperation. 

VNFU also expected to cooperate with MARD in developing geographical indications and trademarks, monitoring the quality of production inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, etc. 

The two sides can coordinate more effectively in connecting and consuming agricultural products because VNFU has currently formed 720 chain of stores, including 124 stores of the Farmers’ Union. 

"In the past time, VNFU at all levels have been very active in connecting and consuming agricultural products. We are also building 2 centers to promote OCOP products in Thua Thien - Hue, Phu Yen. In the centers, farmers’ markets can be organized” stated Mr. Doan.

In addition, the President of the Central Committee of the Vietnam Farmers' Association also hoped that the two sides would promote cooperation and organize forums related to agricultural, farmer and rural development. 
Moreover, forums related to agriculture, farmer and rural development were expected to be co-organized by the VNFU Chairman. 

6 suggestions for building the image of new- generation farmers
Mr. Le Duc Thinh, Director of the Department of Economic Cooperation and Rural Development (MARD) informed that VNFU, MARD and Vietnam Cooperative Alliance signed and issued the cooperation program to achieve the target of establishing 15,000 cooperatives and unions of cooperatives on April 18, 2018. 
Through the cooperation, to present, there are 17,462 agricultural cooperatives nationwide. More and more cooperative models have been working effectively. 

During the period of 2013 - 2020, Farmers’ Union in 13 provinces in the Mekong Delta organized more than 10,200 propaganda campaigns for 850,000 turns of officials and farmer members. In addition, Farmers’ Union also actively participates in farmers’ profession branches and groups according to the method of "5 self", "5 together". 

Mrs. Bui Thi Thom - VNFU Vice-Chairwoman informed that VNFU had more than 10.2 million farmer members. The new thing was that its members were not only farmers in rural areas but also scientists, businesses, lecturers, university students... Thanks to that, VNFU had been improving the quality of members step by step. 
VNFU has a system of more than 40 Farmer Support Centers in provinces and cities with good facilities and product introduction centers to support farmers. Furthermore, the Central Committee of VNFU issued a number of Resolutions on collective economic development, farmers’ profession branches and groups, a scheme to support start-up farmers, a scheme of farmers to protect the environment…, which had been effectively deployed to the grassroot level. 

VNFU established 3,500 farmers’ profession branches, 22,500 farmers’ profession groups based on the method of "5 self", "5 together", which were the foundation for the establishment of cooperatives and cooperative groups. More than 3,500 cooperatives and 21,500 cooperative groups were also directly propagated, mobilized and guided by the Farmers’ Union at all levels. 

According to Mrs. Thom, the organizational force of Farmers’ Union was strong, however, a lot of cooperation programs had not really brought into full play due to the limited mechanisms, policies and resources.
Mrs. Thom believed that with the close cooperation between MARD and VNFU, the two sides would propose to the Party and State to have clear mechanisms and policies, human and financial resources for better cooperation. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Nguyen Minh Tien - Director, Head of the Central New Rural Coordination Office emphasized that VNFU played an important role in the new rural building program, especially in the development of agricultural economic development.

"We will clearly identify the contents of cooperation, transform farmers' thinking so that the new rural program goes into depth” stated Mr. Tien. 

According to Mr. Tran Thanh Nam, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, in order for the cooperation program between the two sides to be more and more effective, the two sides should choose specific programs with particular goals to implement.

"MARD has been piloting the construction of 5 large material areas with an area of ​​26,000 hectares. VNFU can participate in mobilizing farmers to build linkage models along the value chain" - said Deputy Minister Tran Thanh Nam.

Mrs. Ha Thuy Hanh - Deputy Director of the National Center for Agricultural Extension also agreed with the statement. She affirmed that in order to build 5 large raw material areas, the National Agricultural Extension Center would build advisory groups at commune level. In the group, the participation of FU officials would be required. 

Mr. Hoang Trung, Director of Plant Protection Department expected to cooperate with VNFU in mobilizing farmers to use fertilizers properly, reduce production costs, improve profits and protect the environment.
Agreeing with the suggestions, Mr. Le Minh Hoan, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development emphasized five aspects that MARD and VNFU could cooperate in the coming period to realize the spirit of the 13th Party Congress.

Firstly, mobilizing farmers to participate in the collective economy, solving the curse of their fragmented and small production over the past time.

Secondly, mobilizing farmers to register to participate in the development of identifiers for growing areas and farming areas, focusing on the material areas that are being built by MARD.

Thirdly, mobilizing farmers to participate in rural economic development in the new rural building program, considering the rural economy as an important element to increase farmers' incomes.

Fourthly, participating in supporting farmer training with the goal of improving the capacity of rural communities, so that farmers can master new rural construction.

Fifth, cooperating to organize forums related to agriculture, farmers and rural areas.

Sixthly, cooperating to create and honor the image of new - generation farmers, civilized farmers.  
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