Provide post-Covid support: farmers request PM

By Pham Chieu   May 29, 2022 | 05:54 am PT
Farmers asked questions about usury, land speculation, transport infrastructure and support for their livelihoods in a Sunday morning conversation with PM Pham Minh Chinh.

For his part, PM Chinh emphasized the importance of developing an autonomous economy and urged ministries and related agencies to work closely together to effectively solve farmers' problems and existing difficulties.

He said they should facilitate incorporation of innovative technologies and use industrial science as a driving force for development. They should also diversify supply chains so that they are not dependent on a single market or product type, he said.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh at a dialogue with farmers, on the morning of May 29. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Chieu

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in a conversation with farmers, May 29, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Chieu

Asking the first question, farmer Nguyen Van Thanh of Hanoi's Ung Hoa District said that following the Covid-19 epidemic, the price of livestock materials had increased dramatically, forcing farmers to halt production after suffering serious losses.

"How can the government support farmers during this challenging time?" he asked.

Nguyen Hong Dien, Minister of Industry and Trade, noted that this was a global issue affecting all countries. The government and ministries have made efforts to share difficulties with farmers in the past, such as limiting the export of strategic materials and researching policies to adjust taxes and fees.

Dien said material prices have risen because those of input materials for fertilizer production have risen 130-170 percent.

"If prices continue to rise, we will propose subsidizing farmers with some basic supplies," Dien said.

Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan said that in order to reduce material costs, people can use byproducts from agricultural production and gradually become self-sufficient in some raw materials used in agricultural production, animal feed and aquatic products.

Chinh said the government has issued numerous policies to assist people and businesses, including tax exemptions, lower electricity and water rates, and investment in infrastructure development with a series of expressways to reduce logistics costs.

Farmer Tran Thi Thanh Thoan of Ha Nam Province's Duy Tien District said that while banks have had introduced many programs in the past to lend money to people, many farmers still found it difficult to access capital at preferential interest rates, allowing the usury market to thrive.

"What solutions does the government have to prevent and discourage usury in rural areas?" Thoan wanted to know.

State Bank Governor Dao Minh Tu admitted that he had heard many heart-breaking stories about usury. As a result, the central bank has implemented numerous policies to improve the legal framework for lending, lowered interest rates, and simplified lending procedures.

"According to preliminary assessments, usury has decreased by more than half compared to 2017, " Tu said.

Deputy Minister of Public Security, Le Quoc Hung, said that many milestones had been reached in dismantling usury drives with arrests and follow up action taken against numerous suspects.

He said over 50,000 officers had been trained to work as commune police in order to collaborate with authorities in the early detection of usury.

PM Chinh said it was necessary to intervene at all levels in order to prevent usury and directed the Ministry of Public Security to coordinate with banks to use national population data to support application appraisal and provision of loans to help people borrow easily so as to limit the incidence of usury.

Connecting online from Bac Giang Province, farmer Hoang Dinh Que said the price of land in many places has risen rapidly over time, resulting in the phenomenon of many farmers engaging in land trading.

Rising land prices have a negative impact on agricultural production, security and social order in many communities, Que said.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Quy Kien proposed seven solutions: stricter management of real estate projects, particularly set in the future; publicizing information on land use planning and plans; strictly complying with regulations on registration of land use rights, transfer and land use change; formulating a plan to better regulate land use through the creation of a clean land fund for holding auctions.

China's export bottlenecks

Farmer Tran Nhu Kien of Son La Province's Yen Chau District said China's tough Covid-19 policies had made exporting to this market difficult since 2020.

Chinh said border trading with the Chinese market was no longer as easy as it used to be. "We require both short-term and long-term solutions. Promoting official agricultural production takes time."

The Prime Minister participated in the Festival of Fruits and OOCP products, on the evening of May 28. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Chieu

PM Chinh visits the Festival of Fruits in Son La Province, May 28, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Chieu

Many farmers raised questions about ways to improve their livelihood, moving from the countryside to the city, climate change, and other topics of interest.

Dao Ngoc Dung, Minister of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs, said the country has approximately 7 million migrant workers.

The government has spent VND89 trillion to assist 55 million people and it will continue to pour VND6.6 trillion into housing for farmers and workers.

"We will find ways to help farmers earn a stable livelihood without having to leave the countryside and make sure that countryside development goes hand in hand with urbanization – by creating an auxiliary industrial network to assist farmers to work without having to leave their hometown."

Regarding Mekong Delta development, Chinh said the development of infrastructure, particularly in the Mekong Delta, would be given highest priority this term.

Agriculture grew by 2.98 percent in 2021, with total export turnover reaching $48.6 billion. Exports of the entire sector reached nearly $17.9 billion in the first four months of this year, a 15.6 percent increase over the same period last year.

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