Farm lands should be aggregated to boost economic development
 

VietNamNet Bridge – Former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dang Hung Vo spoke to Nong Thon Ngay Nay (Countryside Today) newspaper about the issue of land aggregation.

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Would you please explain about the Government's plan to encourage farmers to increase the size of the land they farm?

 

The purpose of land accumulation is to create bigger farms, either collectively or as individual household farms.

In my opinion, land accumulation is the key driving force behind agricultural development. This has been proved in many countries, including developed nations.

The purpose of land accumulation is to create bigger farms, either collectively or as individual household farms. To do that, land size limits must be eliminated, while tenure times must be extended or scrapped. We all know that agriculture production is a long process. The investment is large, while the payback period is longer than for non-agricultural land.

Do you mean that the existing law on land limits and tenure periods is no longer appropriate?

The payback in investing in agriculture sometimes takes hundred of years. To set up a farm, a large land area is needed for mechanisation. Once we can do away with land limits and tenure periods, we make potential investors feel more comfortable about putting money into agricultural development.

Lifting land limits and tenures will have a direct impact on investors' thinking. They will be more likely to consider long-term investment, which will be more effective.

But some people have argued that if there were no land limits and tenures there won't be enough land to go around. How do you respond to that?

We all know that in 1994, the Government started allocating land to individual households. The land was parcelled out in small plots, which were scattered throughout the communes.

But now things have changed. We're now operating in a market economy in which the Government plays a very important role. Under the new rules, those who own more land will have to pay more tax. In the beginning, they may enjoy some tax breaks or preferential policies. But later on, they will have to pay taxes so that the Government is able to safeguard the security of those who don't have land or have only small plots. That is the way to achieve equality for everyone.

Should the Government revoke all existing land-use rights?

I still remember the issue was raised by the Party Central Committee. Yet there has been little response. It expected that the final decision will be made in 2013.

But in my opinion, if we want the land accumulation plan to be successful, the first thing we should do is to encourage non-farming households to give up their land and switch to other jobs.

Within the agricultural industry, there are different points of view on land accumulation. How should we proceed with the plan so that we don't create a new generation of landlords, as was the case before 1954?

Well, I don't think land accumulation will give birth to a new generation of landlords, as some people have said. The Government will control the situation by introducing land taxes so that benefits are shared. This is the major difference between our society and that of a capitalist country.

In Taiwan, to prevent the birth of a new generation of landlords, the administration enacted "Law 17.8," which stated that owners of big farms were allowed to keep 17.8 per cent of the benefits generated from the land, while anything else had to be shared with the labourers and the administration.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

 
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