Rescue the rich or the poor?

VietNamNet Bridge – The voice of the farmers does not have a rightful place in policies and economic development orientations. Inequality in giving the State's priority and support for the agricultural sector compared with other sectors still exists, commented VietNamNet’s readers.

What VN has after 24 years as a “rice exporting power”?

farmer, policy, NA, government, rice export, market

After publishing the article “What Vietnam gets after 24 years as a rice exporting power?,” there were hundreds of enthusiastic comments from readers have been sent to VietNamNet. We may see this as a good sign, showing that the agricultural sector and farmers have received a lot of attention and sharing.

Foretold death

Most of readers agreed that the difficulties and barriers for farmers come from all aspects, from production to the market for agricultural products. Reader Cao Tien summarized: "At the beginning of renovation, agriculture was considered to be the fuse for renewal. When the country reaps achievements, agriculture goes down. Have we turned our back to the farmer?"

“The prices for seed, fertilizer, electricity, gas, etc. - the cost of inputs for agricultural production - are constantly escalating. Moreover, the problem of fake agricultural inputs, notably fertilizer, seed, is still more serious," indicated a reader at

Reader Nguyen Anh Minh analyzed: "A country with 70 percent of the population engaged in agriculture but Vietnam has to import from seeds to fertilizers, animal feed... Agricultural products are also rampantly imported, even illegally imported as long as it benefits someone.”

It is very difficult for the farmers to access to loans for production development. "In theory, farmers are still supported largely by the state through soft loans but in fact, each ten farmers, only one can have access to soft loans," commented a reader at windsofheaven ... @

It is more difficult for Vietnamese agricultural products to go to the market. "A loose market, Chinese goods are uncontrolled or loosely controlled so that toxic Chinese goods are also labeled as Vietnamese products. The death of agriculture is foretold," warned a reader at ...

Another reader with email address quanhay@ ... pointed out: "Exports of agricultural products face difficulties because exporters do not try to find more customers. With many intermediate traders, the costs and production costs of agricultural products are very high, affecting the competitiveness. Farmers are forced to sell their products at low price."

Meanwhile, the farmers do not have a rightful place in the country’s policy and economic development orientation. Inequality in giving the state’s priority and support for the agricultural sector compared with other sectors still exists.

Reader Nguyen Van Bao said: "The income from one ton of rice is not enough to pay tuition fees for a university student so how farmers live with rice? Why we do not have "minimum wage" for farmers? If they do not reach the minimum earning, they should be subsidized."

"Sadly, when the real estate and banking sectors encountered little difficulty, all screamed but when farmers face difficulty, who pay attention to their concerns?" wrote reader at the email ...

"Farmers work very hard but they will loss all if there is a storm but food trading firms still earn profit," reader named Minh wrote.

Vu Ba Tien wrote: "The total investment in the agricultural sector, which is seen the pillar of the national economy accounts for a very low percentage. Why? Because they are big in number but their voice is less important than a few estate, banking and finance, stock tycoons..."

"All our policies just focus on the recovery of land for industrial and estate projects. The fate of farmers and the market for agricultural products depend on the market with a lot of pressure," commented a reader named Hung.

Reader Le Xuan An wrote: "Why the people who do not know how to do business are given the exclusive rights to export rice and why they always complain about losses. It is true that only the rich are saved and nobody saves the poor and it is also true that interest groups manipulate state policies."

"It is sad that while the state launched the real estate bailout, agriculture and farmers are abandoned. With 70 percent of the population are farmers, this is a failure of policy," reader Quang Hong wrote.

Take action before it's too late

Several readers pointed out the biggest problems of the agriculture and suggested solutions.

Reader Dang Quang indicated: "How can we perform agricultural industrialization and modernization when agricultural land is dispersed and farmers can plant anything they like? It would be unrealistic to expect that millions of farmers to join an association."

"Currently, the agricultural authorities are less concerned with their functions and duties. The apparatus of the agricultural sector at grassroots level is mainly passive, waiting for budget allocation and do small things," commented a reader at email ...

The reader recommended: "Minister Phat should restructure the agricultural management agency and the staff working in agriculture before restructuring others."

"The leaders generally no longer consider agriculture as the leading front and thus investment in agriculture is too modest. Therefore, we need to look at the truth that to make our country become an industrialized country is not as easy as everyone thought. Agriculture must be put into the true place. Farmers must be more respected and have bigger voice," a reader at email kien ... @, suggested.

Many readers proposed to develop agriculture based on the law of value and the law of supply and demand. Agriculture development orientation should be integrated with the world.

Rreader Minh Tien wrote: "It is time to put aside our strategy on ensuring food security to move to commodity production and market economy. Because we are driven to ensure food security so improving product quality and building the rice export market is forgotten.”

"We should not produce more rice when the world does not produce rice because of low economic efficiency. We should plant other crops of higher value and can be exported to the world," Nguyen Thang suggested.

Frustrated with the monopoly in rice export, Phan Thanh Lam said: "Why don’t we allow private firms to export rice instead of relying on the Vietnam Food Association. Because of rice export monopoly, like petrol import monopoly, our farmers suffer."

Some readers suggested that Vietnam should learn from Thailand. "Why Thailand has agricultural subsidy but in Vietnam the farmers have never known about these words? After a quarter of century, where has the money from rice export gone?"... a reader at questioned.

"Let’s look to Thailand to learn how they help their farmers by buying rice at high prices. I suggest the state help farmers in the transition to rice varieties as well as agricultural products of high quality and high profit," Quang Hong suggested.

At the same point of view, Le Hoang said that "Thailand is not keen on the title the world top rice exporter. They accept to raise rice prices to ensure farmers' profits. Vietnam, because of the target of becoming an industrialized country is why we deliberately neglect the agricultural sector? For the 70 percent of agriculture to become industry and services, let’s take action before it is too late."

Compiled by Hoa Tran

farmer, policy, NA, government, rice export, market