Agricultural policy key challenge for organic farming in Vietnam

By Lam Le   May 13, 2016 | 12:52 am PT
Vietnam will form working groups including organic businesses to study the existing challenges the sector is facing and revise existing legislature to encourage organic farming, said Agriculture Minister Tran Thanh Nam.

Vietnam discussed measures to promote organic farming and overcome existing challenges at a workshop organized yesterday by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Science and Technology in Ho Chi Minh City.

Tran Quoc Khanh, deputy minister of science and technology, said organic farming is an important solution to the current food safety issue. He added that organic agriculture increases productivity and incomes while lowering greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.

However, land devoted to organic farming remains modest, Khanh added.

A Department of Crop Production representative said the lack of a domestic organic certification is one of the barriers facing the expansion of organic farming. Vietnam’s organic exports are dependent on foreign organizations like Control Union, IMO and JAS to verify they meet international standards. In addition, there are hardly any support policies for organic farming. Current regulations focus mainly on safe production and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).

Vo Minh Hai, director of Vien Phu Green Farm, agreed, saying that the biggest challenge faced by organic businesses is policy, which lacks transparency, including unclear standards for clean production and certification.

For agriculture to be sustainable, Hai said Vietnam needs a breakthrough shift from current chemical intensive farming to environmentally friendly practices to remain internationally competitive and improve public health. The policy should clearly differentiate support policies so that farmers, agribusinesses and investors can distinguish the benefits of chemical intensive and environmentally friendly farming.

According to Nam, Vietnam has the natural and social resources to grow organic rice, tea and vegetables. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development plans to promote Vietnam’s organic products both domestically and internationally so that consumers, businesses and international organizations understand the potential of Vietnam’s organic market.

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