The task of strengthening foreign affairs and international cooperation is one of the five key tasks of Vietnam Farmers’ Union
16:42 - 10/05/2019
In the afternoon of 7th May, in Hanoi, the Central Party Commission for External Relations in coordination with Vietnam Farmers’ Union (VNFU) organized the Conference on discussion about people's foreign affairs of VNFU, assessment of the achievements in the 2013-2018 term as well as the orientation and tasks for the 2018-2023 term.

Photo: Mr. Thao Xuan Sung, Member of Executive Central Party Committee and Chairman of VNFU Central Executive Committee wasdelivering opening speech

Mr. Thao Xuan Sung - Member of Executive Central Party Committee, Chairman of VNFU Central Executive Committee and Mr. Hoang Binh Quan - Member of Executive Central Party Committee, Head of the Central Party Commission for External Relations co-chaired the conference.

Regarding VNFU’S attendants, there were Vice Chairmans Mr. Pham Tien Nam and Mr. Nguyen Xuan Dinh in company with leading representatives of VNFU’s departments. Regarding delegation of the Central Party Commission for External Relations, there were leading representatives of units, departments, Head and Deputy Head of Administration Department.

In recent years, in order to effectively implement the guidelines, policies as well as Directives, Resolutions and related documents on the external affairs of the Party, the State, VNFU has built, issued, instructed, directed Farmers’ Unions (FUs) at all levels to implement a number of specific contents, including: Resolution 23 of the VNFU’s Standing Committee on "Renovating and improving the effectiveness of foreign affairs and international integration of Vietnam Farmers’ Union in the new situation"; Program No. 12 of the VNFU’s Standing Committee on "Organizing for VNFU’s officials, members, farmers to go abroad for research, study, exchange in experiences and promotion of agricultural products in the period of 2016-2020"; Program No. 660 on "Promotion of mobilization of foreign aid by Vietnam Farmers’ Union in the period of 2014-2020"…

Furthermore, the VNFU’s Standing Committee have actively developed and comprehensively implemented many effective, practical Projects as following: "International cooperation in training VNFU’s young officials"; "Enhancing international integration capacity for VNFU’s officials and members"; "Developing strategic partners of VNFU"; "Building a network of voluntary collaborators supporting VNFU’s activities in international cooperation"; "Strengthening friendship and cooperation between Vietnamese farmers and Laotian, Cambodian farmers" ...

Remarkably, not only was VNFU one of the founders of the Asian Farmers' Association for Sustainable Development (AFA), it became the official member in 2016 after 15 years being an observer thanks to specific, active efforts made in VNFU’s activities. In addition, VNFU is also an observer of the La Via Campesina (LVC) and World Farmer's Organization (WFO).
With the source of mobilized aid, FUs at all levels have so far organized 226 workshops; 17 ToT  training courses; 538 training classes; 52 study tours both within the country and abroad; made through more than 50 consultations with members and farmers which taking that as a basis for proposing policies... At the same time, from flexible mobilization of resources, FUs at all levels have built 2,500 Cooperative groups, Cooperatives, 500 Clubs; trained 202 people to become ToT trainers and 20,178 turns of officials, members and farmers on leadership, management skills, policy advocacy, collective economic development, market analysis and business development, computer and Internet skills...
VNFU also carried out 35 thematic studies relating to farmers' livelihood and production; collective economic development; value chains, forests and farms; use of land, water ...
So far, VNFU has had friendly and cooperative relations with 57 foreign partners (an increase of 17 partners compared to the beginning of the term). Most of the new partners are sponsors, international organizations, technical support agencies, enterprises with specific cooperation programs with VNFU. In particular, there are big partners with potential for long-term cooperation such as Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development  (IFAD), Google – the Alphabet Group, the Korean Technology Company (Agerigna), Israel Irrigation Company, The TOA Institution,…
VNFU has advised to receive 275 foreign delegations to visit and work; concurrently, organized 152 delegations to go for overseas business trips with 520 participants. There are 30 provinces and cities to develop the Projects, 8 provinces and cities to make plans to organize for farmers to study, research abroad.
Especially, the task of strengthening foreign affairs and international cooperation is defined as one of the 5 key tasks at the 7th National Congress of VNFU for the term of 2018-2023. Accordingly, VNFU will continue to innovate and improve the effectiveness of foreign relations and international integration in line with the people's foreign policy of the Party, with the motto "active, flexible, creative and effective".
Besides, VNFU also set out the key tasks that need to be promoted, including: Information and external propaganda; Expanding friendship and international cooperation, exploiting resources for implementing programs and projects; Organizing for VNFU’s officials, members, farmers to research, study, work, promote agricultural products at home and abroad; Improving capacity of foreign relations and international cooperation for VNFU’s officials.

VNFU also proposed to the Party Central Committee Secretariat to continue strengthening the training and capacity building for officials who are working in foreign affairs, organizing seminars and training courses; and create conditions for VNFU’s officials who are in charge of foreign affairs to have various opportunities to exchange, share experiences and information in their work, especially related to friendship and cooperation between Vietnam - Laos, Vietnam - Cambodia, Vietnam - China...; There is a mechanism to enhance coordination between ministries, industries, relevant agencies and local authorities with all levels of VNFU in implementing activities of people's external relations; propose to allow the use of other financial resources of VNFU for people's external affairs; foreign language training for VNFU’s officials, especially for Chairmans of commune-level FUs in border communes, wards and towns, bringing VNFU’s young officials to study abroad.
At the conference, most of the delegates expressed their pleasure for high achievements of VNFU in foreign relations over the past time. Still, some delegates were concerned that it is so much unexploited room in foreign relations for VNFU. Therefore, VNFU should strengthen external cooperation in the coming term. Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hoang Van, Director of the People's Relations Department said: The two sides need to have an active and specific mechanism for coordination. Currently, the Central Party Commission for External Relations maintains the meeting in every 3 months with attendance of VNFU delegates. Then, VNFU should clearly demonstrate its acting role, the External Relations Committee is willing to share experiences in the task implementation.
Mr. Nguyen Xuan Dinh, Vice Chairman of VNFU Central Executive Committee shared his concerns about difficulties and problems of VNFU in the past, especially about human and financial resources.  “Our farmers are very good and creative. Many farmers who participated in study trips organized by VNFU to some countries have renovated their techniques and created new machines to bring high efficiency in production. Hopefully, in the new term, with given momentum, foreign relations of VNFU will really thrive”- Vice Chairman Nguyen Xuan Dinh desired.

Spoke at the Conference, Mr. Thao Xuan Sung - Member of Executive Central Party Committee, Chairman of VNFU Central Executive Committee affirmed: In the past, information and propaganda in foreign relations of VNFU has been gradually considered and has attained many remarkable achievements. In the near future, VNFU will further take the initiative and strengthen cooperation, considering it as one of the top 5 important tasks to strive to achieve the goal of building a prosperous agriculture and wealthy farmers, civilized and modernized rural areas as directed by the General Secretary of the Central Party Executive Committee and President Nguyen Phu Trong at the 7th VNFU’s National Congress. He also emphasized that VNFU will also take its initiative to connect with international partners for bilateral cooperation.

Having concluded the conference, Mr. Hoang Binh Quan - Member of Executive Central Party Committee, Head of the Central Party Commission for External Relations recognized and appreciated achievements of VNFU. The VNFU’s foreign relations are so good in the context that our country is increasingly penetrating deeper into the market economy. Thanks to the relentless efforts, flexibility and creativity in the implementation of foreign affair activities, VNFU have achieved quite high results (nearly 90% of the plan). Notably, foreign affairs have been concerned by all levels, deployed to the commune level. Despite difficult deployment, VNFU still perform very well.
“If you can raise awareness for VNFU’s members and farmers about foreign affairs, you can solve many diplomatic issues whenever problems and disputes happen. In the coming time, the two sides need to promote the achieved results, continue to enhance foreign affair activities toward practical and effective way"- Mr. Hoang Binh Quan, Head of the Central Party Commission for External Relations expressed.
Both Members of Executive Central Party Committee were determined to coordinate to well implement foreign affair activities in the coming time  

Delegates took the photo at the conference

Many specific targets related to foreign external activities have been determined at the 7th National Congress of VNFU for the term of 2018- 2023 as follows:
- At least 40% of VNFU’s specialized officials at the central and provincial levels can use one foreign language in communication and 80% of Chairman of commune-level FUs in communes, wards and townships in border areas can use the language of neighboring countries.
- At least 85% of VNFU’s members are disseminated and educated to raise awareness about national defense, security, foreign affairs and international integration tasks; 100% of the provinces and cities organized for officials, members and farmers to study agricultural production and business experiences at home or abroad.
- 85% of VNFU’s members have regular access to necessary knowledge, information, market, science, technology and high technology in agricultural production.
- 100% of communal FUs host and coordinate to conduct consultancy and suppor for developing at least one cooperative group or one or more cooperatives with aim to associate, cooperate in production following the value chain so as to improve farmers' income and successfully connect the market.
Trung Anh - Translated by Ngoc Anh
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