Prime Minister: Interact with virtual world but not virtualize food security
11:49 - 31/03/2020
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc emphasized: We live in the 4.0 era, interact with the virtual world but not virtualize food security. This is always a matter of utmost importance for all countries, especially in the context of political instability, non-traditional security and pandemics in the world.
Addressing the opening session of the National Online Conference on 10-year implementation of the Poliburo’s Conclusion 53 for the “National food security up to 2020” project on the morning of March 18, the Prime Minister said that the Government has been focusing on directing COVID-19 prevention and control with an increasing number of infectious cases from foreigners to Vietnam.
“We must be determined to prevent this pandemic. This is the top priority given to the entire Party, the whole Army and all the People because this pandemic directly affects the People’s life and health”, said and emphasized the Prime Minister. “We must also conduct dual a task of fighting against the pandemic and stabilizing the people’s life and keeping the pace of production and other social fields.
In that context, this conference was organized to discuss food safety – an extremely important task in any circumstances to ensure life and essential commodities for the people.
Regarding 10-year implementation of “food security” project, the Prime Minister indicated that agricultural industry in general, especially food production in Vietnam, has obtained comprehensive achievements.
From a country of food shortage, average food per capita in Vietnam is now 525 kg and Vietnam has become one of the world’s leading food exporters. Vietnam’s rice is elected as the most delicious rice in the world. From such results, the Prime Minister suggested the delegates discussing successful lessons and experiences.
However, this conference mentions not only achievements but also shortcomings and development orientation. The Prime Minister suggested the delegates “bravely speaking about weaknesses of the agricultural industry in general and food security in particular”.
For example, we rankedin exporting agricultural products but ranked the 57thamong 113 countries in food security on average. In the rice cultivation, the farmers’ living standards are better but there are still many poor and difficult people. Therefore, it is required to shift agricultural structure and produce food reasonably. This is a problem today.
“Besides export, we have also stored 300,000 tons food and always ensured food for all people in all circumstances. If any people are short of food, the leader of the local authority must be responsible”, confirmed the Prime Minister.
Highly appreciating the local authorities’ efforts to keep the rice production areas, the Prime Minister asked “To what extent is the rice production area kept to ensure food security and promote efficiency of the tropical agriculture? How to invest in agricultural and processing industry upon great post-harvest losses? and How effective export?”
The Prime Minister expressed his desires that the scientists contributed their opinions about strong measures and national scale in the spirit of “ensuring food security in any circumstances.
In the international situation and climate change, the food security is not only a short-term issue but also a long-term and strategic issue. The Prime Minister recalled recent eventthat whenthere was the first Covid-19 case in Hanoi, “the market is disorderly, especially the people bought and preserved food and instant noodles” and he directly ordered the food companies to ensure supply and sell food to the people until 23:00.
“In that situation, the sources must be ensured. Therefore, stable food preservation in all conditions is very important because it is an essential commodity … Do not disregard this issuebecause it is strategic”, said he.
At the conference, the Prime Minister emphasized: We live in the 4.0 era, interact with the virtual world but not virtualize food security. This is always a matter of utmost importance for all countries, especially in the context of political instability, non-traditional security and pandemics in the world. Therefore, it is fully aware of the saying that “agriculture makes the farmers stable” in new situation.
Important targets achieved
According to a report at the National Online Conference on 10-year implementation of the Politburo’s Conclusion 53 for the “National food security up to 2020” project, many positive achievements are obtained.
Specifically, 12 targets are obtained and beyond the set ones;remarkably, Vietnam’s rice production area in 2018 was 4.159 million ha (3.76 million ha higher than the set target in the Resolution); rice output in 2019 was 43.4 million tons (an increase of 41-43 million tons); and rice export in 2019 was 6.34 million tons (4 million tons higher than the set one).
During the period of 2009 – 2019, average annual income per capita in the rural area increased 4.3 times and a gap of income between the urban area and the rural area is narrowed from 2.1 times to 1.8 times.
The agricultural industry has rather high growth rate (2.61%/ year). Vietnam’s rice output is the highest in the Southeast Asia region (5.6 tons/ha), doubles the one in Thailand and 1.5 times as high as the one in India; coffee output is 1.5 times as high as the one in Brazil and 3 times as high as the one in Colombia and Indonesia; pepper output is 3 times as high as the one in Indonesia and 1.3 times as high as the one in India; and average output of Pangasiidae is 209 tons/ ha and the highest in the world …
Value and output of the agricultural products sharply increased (during the period of 2009 – 2019 with increase inaverage food per capita from 497 kg/ year to over 525 kg/year; vegetables output (80.5% increase) from 9.75 million tons to 17.6 million tons; and fruit output from 6 million tons to 12.6 million tons).
Exporting the agricultural products has continued to be promoted. 7 types of the commodities has annual export turnover of over USD 1 billion and annual average export of about 5-7 million tons of rice. Many clean agricultural production models have applied high technologies and invested into development of organic agriculture, contributing to macro-economy stability, inflation control, job creation and poverty reduction.
Vietnam is capable of ensuring self-supply of the food with relatively high output per capita on average (ranking the 6th in the world).
In addition to the obtained results, there are some shortcomings and limitations such as low and unstable income from agricultural production, unstableland use planning for agricultural production in many localities in the “bumper crop – devaluation” state andrequired rescue of agricultural products. Mechanism and policy on land are limited and agricultural production in many areas is on a small scale; unsatisfactory requirements of rice land concentration are the greatest "bottleneck" for large-scale commodity production in accordance with the international standards.
Impacts of climate change, sea level rise, saline intrusion, drought and flood are seriously threatened on food production, especially in Mekong Delta Region…