Netherlands shares experience in sustainable agricultural development

Monday, 2017-03-20 16:35:42
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The signing of a memorandum of understanding on agricultural co-operation between Dutch and Vietnamese enterprises. (Credit: VNA)
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NDO—The Dutch Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City held a seminar in the city on March 20 to share experience in developing sustainable agriculture in Vietnam amid challenges presented by climate change.

According to Marjolijn Sonnema, Deputy Minister for Agriculture at the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Vietnamese economy is growing strongly, but climate change is putting enormous pressure on the agricultural sector, affecting both the people at large and exporters.

She noted that the Netherlands is the world's leading exporter in terms of agricultural products thanks to the application of technology and initiatives in agriculture.

Dutch enterprises have considerable experience in developing sustainable agriculture and wish to support Vietnam in this field, she added.

At the seminar, Dutch enterprises shared lot of information on the transformation of agriculture towards sustainable development; feasible solutions for the project on increasing crop productivity in saline and drought conditions such as in the Mekong Delta; the initiative to establish a sustainable production chain; and training needs of the agriculture sector in Vietnam.

A representative from East West Seed said that with the current global population growth, agricultural productivity must increase by 70% by 2050 to meet food demand. Therefore, it is necessary to research and develop new varieties with high productivity and suited to natural conditions including water shortages and saline soil. Thus, attention should be paid to household farmers, as the initiative must be rooted in the needs of grassroots farmers.

With the same focus on small household production, Nedspice Vietnam is implementing a project on sustainable pepper farming, which aims to link 500-700 local farmers in Binh Phuoc in sustainable production chains.

Vietnam and the Netherlands have many specific co-operation agreements on agricultural development, food security, climate change adaptation and water resources management, among others.

A representative from the Dutch embassy in Vietnam said that in order to implement projects on sustainable agricultural development in the context of limited ODA capital and budgets, the participation of the private sector would be very important, contributing to improving quality and value in production.

Many Dutch experts also emphasised the significance of the industrialisation of agriculture, the enhancement of product quality instead of quantity; the proper use of water resources in production; and building suitable fish-farming areas for sustainable agricultural development.