Rapid and sustainable development of agriculture, farmers, and rural areas promoted for a prosperous and happy nation in the new period

Member of the Party Central Committee, Minister of Agriculture and Ru-ral Development
Monday, June 3, 2024 07:47

Communist Review - Vietnam boasts many advantages in agricultural development. The Communist Party of Vietnam and the State are always attuned to boosting agriculture and rural development and have adopted orientations and policies to do so. As a result, the agricultural sector has recorded relatively high growth over recent years; the rural economy is advancing while increasing added values and multi-value integration and enhancing industrial and rural service development; rural infrastructure has been strengthened; and the material and spiritual lives of rural people are improving day by day.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong visits the Hao Dat Tea Co-operative in Tan Cuong commune, Thai Nguyen city, Thai Nguyen province _Photo: thainguyen.gov.vn

Some notable achievements in agriculture and rural development and the improvement of farmers' lives

Agriculture has enjoyed rapid and stable growth, has been diversified, and has strongly shifted to commodity production in line with market demand and adaptation to climate change. Food safety has been guaranteed while productivity, quality, and added values of many agricultural products have improved, enabling them to successfully compete in domestic and global markets. Exports of agro-forestry and aquatic products have increased rapidly and continue to play a crucial role in driving the development of commodity-based agriculture, drawing hard currencies, and reducing the trade deficit.

During the 2011-2020 period, the agricultural sector grew 2.93% on average (3.27% in 2021; 3.36% in 2022; and 3.07% in the first half of 2023). The total export turnover between 2011 and 2020 reached 341.7 billion USD, averaging 34.17 billion USD per year in revenue and 5.38% per year in growth. In 2022 alone, agricultural exports earned a record high of 53.53 billion USD, up 9.9% from 2021. Twelve commodity groups achieved an export turnover of over 1 billion USD each. During the hard times caused by cross-border epidemics (such as COVID-19), geopolitical tensions, and military conflicts, agriculture continues to assert its role as the "mainstay" of the economy by ensuring national food security, sustainable livelihoods, employment, and stable income for rural people.

New-style rural area development has met the aspirations of rural people and become a strong and widespread movement nationwide, involving the whole society. The achievements of the National Target Program on New Rural Development are touted as significant, comprehensive, and historic, marking breakthroughs that are changing the face of rural Vietnam. The rural economy has been modernized, with strong development of industry and services in rural areas. The agricultural and rural infrastructure system has been upgraded and gradually modernized to better serve production, daily life, disaster prevention and mitigation, and climate change adaptation.

By August 2023, 6,031 out of 8,167 communes nationwide (73.85%) met new-style rural area criteria; 1,521 communes achieved criteria for advanced new-style rural areas; and 225 communes were recognized as exemplary new-style rural areas. On average, each commune met 16.9 criteria for new-style rural areas; 264 district-level units in 58 provinces and cities completed their tasks/met the criteria for new-style rural areas (accounting for 41% of districts nationwide). All communes in 20 provinces and cities have met the criteria for new-style rural areas and 10,322 OCOP (One Commune, One Product) products have been rated 3 stars or above, involving 5,361 entities. 

Farmers have promoted their role as the main actors in line with the motto "the people know, the people discuss, and the people inspect". Efforts have been made to develop diverse production models; to help poor people and impoverished areas enhance the restructuring of crops and livestock; and transfer and apply new technologies to production. The average per capita income in rural areas reached 47.2 million VND (1,850 USD) in 2022, up 1.12 times from 2020 and 5.13 times from 2008. The income gap between urban and rural areas narrowed from 2.1 times in 2008 to less than 1.8 times in 2017. As the poverty rate dropped 1-1.5% per year on average, Vietnam has achieved the Millennium Development Goals on poverty reduction 10 years ahead of schedule. The material and spiritual lives and social welfare of people in rural areas have improved.

These achievements are attributed to the leadership and specific and resolute direction of the Party and State. They also owe to the support of the entire political system in choosing breakthrough solutions, such as opening up markets and applying good, safe, and quality production processes; creating a favorable environment to attract investment from society and businesses; and instilling confidence and encouraging innovation and startups across society. Other factors include the comprehension of the spirit of "inclusive development, leaving no one behind".

Actions to be taken to contribute to building a happy, prosperous nation in the coming period

The 13th National Party Congress set the goal of comprehensively and synchronously accelerating the renewal process and achieving rapid and sustainable economic development so that by 2030, Vietnam will become “a developing country with modern industry and upper-middle income.”(1) Other goals included “improving the material and spiritual lives of the people,”(2)  and “spurring the aspirations to build a prosperous and happy country”(3). The Congress emphasized the need to focus on the industrialization and modernization of agriculture and rural areas and rapid and sustainable development. Agricultural and rural economic development should go hand in hand with building new-style rural areas towards "ecological agriculture, modern rural areas, and smart farmers"(4).

To further elaborate on the documents of the 13th National Party Congress, Resolution 19-NQ/TW outlined the key objective of continuing sustainable development on three pillars: "economy, society, and environment", in order to achieve the goal of developing modern, efficient, and sustainable agriculture, moving toward ecological agriculture which adapts to climate change and ensures national food security. Other goals include building modern rural areas imbued with rich cultural identity, a good living environment, and socio-economic and service infrastructure close to that of urban area standards. It is crucial to maintain political security and social order and safety in rural areas as well as to secure a strong political system in rural areas under the Party’s leadership, serving as a solid basis for national construction and defense.

The agricultural sector’s goals until 2030 include: 

1. Achieving an annual GDP growth rate of 3% and increasing labor productivity 5.5-6% per year.

2. Ensuring that more than 90% of communes meet criteria for new-style rural areas with 50% of them recognized as advanced new-style rural areas. More than 70% of district-level units will meet the criteria for new-style rural areas with 35% of them recognized as advanced new-style rural areas.

3. Raising farmers’ incomes by 2.5 times by 2030, compared to 2020.

4. Reducing the share of the agricultural workforce in the total social workforce to below 20%. One million eight hundred thousand (1.8 million) rural laborers will receive training from elementary to college levels, retraining, or vocational training annually to ensure that more than 70% of the agricultural workforce are trained.

5. Maintaining a stable forest coverage of 42%, improving forest productivity and quality; and reducing greenhouse gas emissions generated from production, business, and consumption of agricultural products in order to protect the environment.

Goals until 2025 include: 

1. Achieving an annual GDP growth rate of 2.5-3%.

2. Earning 48-50 billion USD from agro-forestry and aquatic product exports.

3. Ensuring that at least 80% of communes meet criteria for new-style rural areas, 50% of district-level units achieve the criteria for or fulfill the task of building new-style rural areas, and at least 15 provinces fulfill the tasks of new-style rural area building.

4. Increasing rural people’s per capita income by 1.5 times compared to 2020.

5. Maintaining forest coverage of 42%.

To effectively and synchronously implement laws, resolutions, strategies, programs, projects, and plans on agricultural and rural development (particularly Resolution 19-NQ/TW, the Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Strategy for the 2021-2030 period with a vision to 2050, and the Plan on Restructuring the Agricultural Sector for the 2021-2025 period), Vietnam's agricultural sector should focus on the following tasks and solutions:

First, continue to improve awareness of and promote communication on Party guidelines and State laws and policies regarding "Restructuring agriculture, rural development, and the rural economy associated with building new-style rural areas towards eco-agriculture, modern rural areas, and smart farmers" throughout the agricultural sector, branches, and localities, and among the people. It is essential to change the awareness of and approach to commodity-based agricultural production in the context of international integration and climate change and shift from the agricultural production mindset to the agricultural economy mindset so as to make full use of the advantages of tropical agriculture and develop modern, large-scale, and concentrated commodity agriculture.

Second, enhance the role, position, and capacity of farmers and rural residents as the masters of their own destiny and strengthen the role of farmers as key stakeholders. Farmers should become affluent with a civilized lifestyle while the environment should be protected.

Third, develop effective, sustainable, and ecology-oriented agriculture and apply advanced science and technology to improve its quality and enhance its added-values. It is necessary to promote the restructuring of agriculture towards eco-agriculture in line with the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress; to boost the production of seedlings, breeders, and agricultural materials; and to set out specific tasks for cultivation, animal husbandry, aquaculture, forestry, and salt production sectors(5). Other solutions include improving the management of natural resources, the protection of the rural environment, and the adaptability to climate change and disaster prevention and mitigation.

Fourth, vigorously develop industry and services, restructure the economy, and create on-the-spot employment for rural laborers. Efforts should be made to build and effectively implement socio-economic development plans and align agricultural development with industrial and service development. The rural economy should be developed comprehensively and synchronously with a rational balance of agriculture, industry, and services, based on science, technology, and innovation. It is necessary to boost industries, especially those relating to agro-processing, and the manufacturing of agricultural equipment, machinery, and materials. Measures should be taken to develop industrial clusters and craft villages tailored to local planning and specific conditions. Attention should be paid to preserving and developing sectors, crafts, craft villages, services, community tourism, and eco-tourism, as well as to building diverse and synchronous commercial infrastructure.

Fifth, build modern, comprehensive, and sustainable rural areas associated with urbanization. It is necessary to continue fine-tuning the criteria for building new-style rural areas, including advanced and exemplary areas, and new-style rural areas at village and hamlet levels. Socio-economic development should go hand in hand with strengthening national defense and security and ensuring sustainable socio-economic development in border, sea, and island areas, as well as in disadvantaged regions. Importance should be attached to developing synchronous, modern rural infrastructure connected with urban areas, especially in peri-urban areas, towns, and townships. This infrastructure should gradually approach urban standards. Infrastructure for transportation, digital transformation, culture, education, and healthcare should be modernized. There is a need to provide clean water up to standards and urgently and resolutely address environmental pollution.

Sixth, continue to refine institutions and policies on agriculture, farmers, and rural areas while completing land policies and laws to ensure sustainable and effective management and use of agricultural land. It is important to promote the accumulation and flexible, efficient use of paddy fields. There should be mechanisms to regulate and allocate budgets to balance the interests between localities with large areas of rice cultivation and large forested areas and other localities, as well as to support the livelihoods of rice and forest growers. It is important to develop financial and micro-finance markets; fine-tune agricultural insurance policies; develop farms, household economies, and the collective economy; strengthen production and business cooperation; tighten connectivity between cooperatives; and establish cooperative associations and unions.

Seventh, create breakthroughs in science and technology research and application, innovation, and digital transformation. This involves renovating the organizational structure and activities; enhancing the research, application, and transfer of science and technology, especially high technologies, biotechnologies, and environmentally friendly technologies; and accelerating digital transformation, including creating and improving large databases. It is necessary to enhance the capacity and efficiency of public organizations specializing in technology research and transfer; promote socialization; attract investments from businesses; contract and order scientific and technological products; create breakthroughs in seedlings and breeders; and support the establishment of technology incubators, startup centers, innovation investment funds, and startups. Importance should be attached to promoting collaboration between research institutes, universities, businesses, cooperatives, and farmers; and enhancing e-commerce, product traceability, and food safety control.

In addition, the agricultural sector needs to make breakthroughs in human resource development and training to facilitate the restructuring of agriculture and rural economic development while seizing opportunities created by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, digital transformation, and international integration. It is necessary to overhaul vocational training, both in organization methods and content; and improve the qualifications and skills of workers, particularly the young. 

Eighth, proactively integrate and engage in international cooperation, expand markets, attract resources, and promote the transfer of science and technology. It is crucial to develop the domestic agricultural product market, proactively tap new-generation free trade agreements, maintain traditional markets, expand and diversify export markets, and avoid dependence on only a few markets. Attention should be paid to effectively mobilizing and utilizing capital and sponsorships; expanding international cooperation; transferring new and advanced technologies (especially processing technologies, preservation technologies, seed and breeding technologies, and environmental technologies); and to the re-use of by-products. It is imperative to enhance international cooperation in climate change response, water security assurance, and the prevention and control of cross-border epidemics and environmental pollution.


(1), (2), (3), (4) Documents of the 13th  National Party Congress, National Political Publishing House, Hanoi, 2021, Vol. I; pp. 112, 166, 35, 44
(5) There is a need to restructure agriculture substantively and effectively, and utilize and make full use of the advantages of tropical agriculture as well as the potential and advantages of each region and locality. It is important to accelerate land accumulation and concentration; develop modern agriculture and large-scale and concentrated commodity production; ensure food safety based on the application of advanced science and technology, digital transformation, mechanization, and automation; and closely link agriculture with industry and services, and production with preservation, processing, and consumption of agricultural products. Focus should be placed on encouraging the development of green, organic, circular agriculture and the One Commune One Product (OCOP) program; and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Efforts are needed to strengthen the production of seedlings and breeders which are high-yield, high-quality, resistant to diseases, and adaptable to climate change. It is important to conserve and develop valuable local breeders and seedlings; create appropriate mechanisms to encourage institutions, universities, businesses to research breeders and seedlings; enhance self-reliance in animal feed production; promote the research and mastery of technologies in the production of vaccines, veterinary drugs, plant protection products, and agricultural equipment and supplies. Attention should be paid to effectively and synchronously developing a technical system specializing in veterinary medicine, plant and animal protection and quarantine, and food safety management.

This article was published in the Communist Review No. 1026 (November 2023)