The Vietnam Farmers’ Union Central Committee: Organizing the Forum "The role of female farmer in agricultural production and business"
17:05 - 18/10/2019
The forum took place in the morning of October 17th, in Hanoi, chaired by Vice Chairwoman of the Central Executive Committee of Vietnam Farmers’ Union Bui Thi Thom. This is the cooperation between the Vietnam Farmers’ Union Central Committee and the Vietnam Rural Human Resource Development Network (VietDHRRA).  


Vice Chairwoman of the Central Executive Committee of Vietnam Farmers’ Union Bui Thi Thom chaired the Forum "The role of female farmer in agricultural production and business"
Attending the Forum were representatives of leaders and officials of organizations and agencies, including: Vietnam Women's Union; Vietnam Cooperative Union; North Vietnam College of Agriculture and Rural Development; Institute of Community Health Development- Light; Vietnam Rural Human Resource Development Network (VietDHRRA). Attending the meeting, there were also comrades representing leaders of the Central Committee of Vietnam Farmers’ Union; representative leaders of Farmers's Union, Cooperative Group, Cooperative and members, farmers with the good production and business in 12 provinces and cities.

The forum aims to raise awareness and share knowledge about the role of rural women in sustainable agricultural production and business; difficulties, challenges and barriers for women to participate in agriculture production and business, and opportunities for development such as: Access to resources; natural resources; information, science, technology, services, finance, market; barriers on policies, opportunities, training ...

Thereby, the forum will find solutions, recommendations and initiatives to promote the role of rural women in the development of agricultural production and business, sustainable poverty reduction and promoting gender equality.
This is an activity within the framework of  the Regional Cooperation Project for Asian Rural Development Organizations (ReCoERDO); is being implemented by the Vietnam Rural Human Resource Development Network (VietDHRRA), with the support of the Asian Rural Human Resource Development Organization (AsiaDHRRA).
 
 
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Vice Chairwoman Bui Thi Thom assessed: Women are always an important and large force, demonstrating an indispensable role in all areas of cultural, economic and social life... Currently, women play an increasingly important role in the economy, including the collective economy and the household economy. In particular, for many households, women have become one of the main productive forces; many women are stronger and smarter than men in many matters ...

Rural women also play a very important role in poverty reduction project, building and developing rural areas become worthy places to live. Women have also contributed labor and knowledge in agricultural production and business, sustainable agricultural development, biodiversity protection, economic and social development, and environmental protection... It can be said that they are the factors that create change and make an important contribution to the successful implementation of 17 sustainable development goals.
 
However, besides the recognition and evaluation of such contributions, many rural women still suffer from disrespect, restrictions on rights and opportunities. Even, they are still among those most affected by poverty, less able to take advantage of new opportunities; There are still many barriers that prevent them developing their full capacity and knowledge to contribute to the development of the family, community and society.

In the context of international integration is happening as fast and strongly as today, for economic development, especially in the field of agriculture and rural development, farmers need to be equipped with new thinking and awareness. Along with that, farmers cannot just focus on productivity but ignore the quality of the products they make. Therefore, all levels of the Union need to encourage and organize the propagation and guidance to help members and farmers know how to apply science and technology and high technology to production; In particular, focusing on quality and value of products to increase economic value.
 
In addition, the Farmers’ Union at all levels also need to renovate the propaganda method and support farmers effectively. At the same time, all levels of the Union need to catch up with the difficulties, challenges and barriers in the process of production and business so that they can propose, request or give solutions to solve problems; especially for female farmers in localities, helping them overcome and stabilize their lives.

“The forum today organized is an opportunity for good female farmers to have the opportunity to present their ideas, raise proposals from practice. Therefore, leaders of Farmers' Union at all levels should pay attention to listening to and discuss to help rural women to affirm their role and position in agricultural production and business activities. These are also the voices - the breath from the grassroots level to help the Central Committee to have leadership and direction became closer to reality ”- Vice Chairwoman Bui Thi Thom said.
 
Ms. Pham Thu Huong, Deputy Head of Department of Social, Population and Family and Central Committee of Vietnam Farmers’ Union said: Currently, the Vietnam Farmers' Union has been focusing on communication with men and male farmers on preventing and fighting against gender-based violence and violence against women and girls. As of October 2019, the communication program on gender equality and violence prevention in families has propagated to nearly 8000/11,162 communes and wards nationwide (reaching over 70% of communes and wards).
 
The contents on gender equality and the prevention of violence against women and girls are integrated in the meetings of the branches and associations together with the work of agricultural, forestry and fishery extension, savings credit loans for members and farmers by the Union levels of the media organization. Currently, with the technical support of UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), the Farmers’ Union has also been piloting the responsible father model in the provinces: Quang Binh, Hau Giang and Bac Kan.
 
In provinces and cities of the Union, communication activities on gender equality and domestic violence prevention has been organized with rich and diverse contents, contributing to gather a lot of farmers, especially, the male farmers are who participate in that activity; At the same time, it is highly appreciated by all levels, branches and localities. Besides, gradually changing from awareness, change in behaviors of officials, members, farmers; especially for members are male farmers on gender equality and domestic violence prevention. It can be affirmed that the program has had positive effects, creating pervasive power.
 
As the Chairwoman of the Thanh Xuan Farmers’ Union in Hanoi, Ms. Hoang Thi Hau shared that keeping as both a leader of the Commune Farmers' Union as well as holding position as the Chairman of the Board of Directors cum Director of Thanh Xuan Organic Clean Agricultural Services Cooperative - Soc Son district, she is always deeply aware of the role of the Union. The Commune Farmers' Union has boldly organized the implementation of organic agricultural production model that both protect the environment and increase the value of agricultural products. This is a model which the Vietnam Farmers’ Union Central Committee cooperates with ADDA projects implemented in provinces, including Thanh Xuan commune.
 
After 5 years of implementation and getting the support of the project, the Commune Farmers' Union organized a training course on scientific and technical knowledge on organic agriculture for 986/1320 members and farmers of the whole commune. Of which, the number of members, farmers participating in training classes and direct production is women accounted for 87%. Thanh Xuan organic agriculture model has been implemented since July 2008, with only 7 members and farmers participating initially. Up to now, there are 235 members and farmers have joined in 23 production groups (20 cooperative groups). Among them, 204 female members and farmers participated in groups with many roles (group leader, deputy leader, accountant, cashier ...). Thus, as women participate in economic activities, they will be more proactive in all areas, becoming more confident and able to take on any role”.
 
Ms. Nguyen Thi Dung, Thanh Van commune, Thach Thanh district, Thanh Hoa province shared that in order to get the results like today since 1992, her family boldly leads the movement of receiving assignment of forest land, with a total of 30 hectares; of which 9 hectares of rocky mountains are degraded, the remaining 21 hectares of bare land which had not have any economic value.
 
Not discouraged by the barren land, she discussed with her husband and determined the family's direction to build a synthetic farm for breeding and cultivation. Accordingly, she has planned and put 2 hectares of land to grow the grass has a scientific name Pennisetum purpurrerum VA06 and Angolan grass to serve breeding; 2 hectares for growing sugarcane; 10 hectares for growing fruit trees (longan, dragon fruit, avocado, orange, green grapefruit and guava). In addition, on an area of ​​7 hectares, she has experimented with planting macadamia trees, taking advantage of pineapple intercropping beneath. To develop breeding, her family also invests in building a closed farm scale on an area of ​​5,000 m2, annually raising 20 cows reproduced (Zecman cow breed); from 70 to 100 clean pigs.
 
From an effective integrated farm model, her family's annual total revenue is about VND 3.5 billion, after deducting all investment costs, the profit earned reaches VND 1.5 billion. Not just enrich herself, Ms. Dung has also supported and contributed hundreds of millions of dong/year to participate in the construction of new rural areas in the locality; create jobs for 15 regular workers (with a salary from 4 to 5,000,000 VND/person/month) and 40-50 seasonal workers. In addition, she also helps 3 other households to overcome sustainable poverty.

“The huge challenge for rural women is the limitation in improving social understanding because they have to work a lot, not have time to rest, not have conditions to study and exchange. The biggest difficulty in agricultural production field is finding outputs for products, branding, cooperation. Therefore, I hope the committees, authorities, all levels of Union  as well as industries and businesses will have more "sponsor", helping farmers develop economy, enriching their families, homeland as well as contributing to the development of society ”- Ms. Dung boldly proposed.
 
When the Forum ends, Vice Chairwoman Bui Thi Thom emphasized if receiving the attention of all levels and sectors in trusting - entrusting - facilitating- cheering to help women have the opportunity to express, participate and contribute, women surely will have more achievements which are not only in the field of business but also in many other areas that women can also assume well. Because of gender specificity, women still have to take on two roles, therefore, without a scientific method at work, they would not be able to assume.
 
In fact, rural women are still very lacking of: Knowledge, management skills, production and business methods ... In the coming time, all levels of the Union need to continue promoting the strong points and overcome the shortcomings to encourage members and farmers to actively expand production, business and trades in each appropriate field.
 
How to help rural women have the opportunity to access new current thinking such as: Joint venture, association, production of safe products, organic products ... Besides, to integrate, the Union’s levels should pay more attention to the quality of the product; mobilize members and farmers to actively apply science and technology into production; branding and product promotion ... It is necessary to aim for products that meet the criteria for export to the international market, thus adding value and improving livelihood. The examples of typical female farmers who are good at production and business should continue to receive attention, support capital - seeds - jobs, and method for earning livelihood to poor women farmers and policy families in the locality; thereby helping them to rise in life together.
 
For leaders of the Union’s at all levels, in the coming time, it is necessary to continue to pay attention to, take care of and facilitate to help female farmers develop in all aspects, Vice Chairwoman Bui Thi Thom emphasized. 
 
 



Thanh Mai - Translated by Ngoc Anh
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