If Land Law not amended, there will be more Tien Lang cases
VietNamNet Bridge – The Tien Lang land withdrawal case shows that farmers invested their money and efforts into land. When land is revoked, they had no way of living and offered reckless resistance, said Prof. Dang Hung Vo, former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, in an interview with an online newswire.

After the Tien Lang case, many people have recognized matters association with the Land Law. What is your opinion about this?

The biggest problem of the Land Law is the land using period. The Land Law 1993 set the time for land for short-day crops and aquaculture is 20 years and 50 years for perennial and forest land.

Under this regulation, whenever the time for using land is expires, the rural society will be disturbed because farmers will have to try their best to seek certificates of using land effectively to be able to continue use their land. This fact is resulted in risks of corruption and disturbance in the countryside.

This matter was defined when the Land Law 2003 was compiled but at that time there were two viewpoints on this, which were at equal percentage so finally, the matter was not solved in the Land Law 2003.

For the past ten years, farmers have been very worried about this.

You support the idea of abolishing the land using duration. What do you think about the amendment to the Land Law to avoid similar cases as the one in Tien Lang?

Many people discuss this issue but they do not live in the countryside, so they do not understand farmers and what farmers need. Actually, farmers need land and long-run stability. They are willing to invest, even borrow money to invest to have high output. That’s the thought of farmers who are keen on farming work.

From the Tien Lang case, we can see that a farmer who invested a lot of money and efforts into land to create profit. When land is revoked, they will have no way to live. Thus, they offered reckless resistance. That’s the way the authorities forced the farmer into blind alley. If the Land Law is not amended, I believe that there will have many Tien Lang cases.

This case is the alarm bell for those who are still vague in thinking on the goal of building the law on land and do not understand what farmers need. The slogan of our Party in 1930 “Farmers have field” is still very evergreen on our country’s fields.

Could you explain more clearly about the land using duration?

Fixing the duration for using agricultural land can help ensure equality in using land but this method makes many harmful aspects.

The first is land reform will be implemented each 20 and 50 years, when the land using time is expired. This makes disturbance and corruption in the countryside because farmers have to ask for the certificates of using land effectively and try to get land of good quality, etc.

The second is that it does not encourage investment. As people know that they will own the land for 20-50 years, they will try to bleed the land dry. The productivity and output will never increase and land will become exhausted.

If the land using duration is abolished, these harmful aspects will be solved. If the land using time is lengthened, we still have to answer the question “what will we do when the term is expired?”

I think the best way is abolishing the term for using land. The basic benefit of this method is that the farmer will dare to invest in land to raise productivity and output. This will be surely the way to create a new motive-force in agriculture, in the countryside.

But if the land using term is abolished, we will have to face land speculation and the gap of the rich and the poor in the rural areas.

Certainly. But can these disadvantages are solved by the land using term? The rich can bribe to continue using land after their land using term is expired. We should use other sanctions to prevent the formation of “new landlords” in the countryside.

But without the land using term, the young farmers will not have land?

At present, 70 percent of Vietnam’s population are farmers. But when Vietnam becomes an industrialized country, up to 50 people will live in the rural area. When our country is a developed country, the rural population will be only 10 percent. So we should not force farmers’ children to be farmers. We should think of training them as workers who work in industrial or service sectors.

Giving land to farmers without time restriction can be contradictory with the regulation “land is possessed by the whole people.” What do you think about it?

We have made brave reforms: allocating land of cooperatives to farmers. This policy has helped the country escape from hunger and turned Vietnam into a leading rice exporting country in the world. This policy is inappropriate to the socialist economic model but we have implemented it so why not we perform other reforms?

That policy has been proven to be good because at that time, the form of cooperatives was no longer suitable with the nature and the standards of the production force. At present, to create the motive force for agriculture, the production force needs to be allocated with land for a long run. This is similar to the policy of giving cooperatives’ land to farmers in the past.

The land is possessed by the whole people and land allocation are independent in a certain meaning. We said that “land is possessed by the whole people” but we still allow users of building land to use land forever and to practice seven rights with land. That is contrary to “land is possessed by the whole people”. “Land is possessed by the whole people” is formalism category. Allocating land and right of using land for a long run to land users is the content category. We have allowed people to use building land forever, why we restrict the using time of agricultural land?

How long does it take to complete the policy of giving agricultural land to farmers without time restriction?

I think within five years we can solve up to 80 percent of problems in the process of changing from the land using term policy to allocating land without time restriction in the countryside. All problems will be surely solved in ten years. That’s what I believe in, but in the conditions that policies are strictly implemented in all provinces.