Agricultural- forestry and fishery production has been divided into 7 zones as following: 1. North Mountainous and Middle lands zone 2. Red River Delta zone 3. North of Central Cost zone 4. South of Central Cost zone 5. North East of the Mekong Delta zone 6. Central Highland zone 7. Mekong River Delta zone ( See the map )
- Large population, average density per square km is 249 people/km 2, uneven distribution, i.e.: 86 people/km 2 in Central Highland, 1204 people/km 2 in Red River Delta, 430 people/km 2 in Mekong River Delta and 380 people/km 2 in East of Southern zone. - Red River Delta and Mekong River Delta are central production zones providing food made from annual plantation, pig and poultry breeding - Costal area with length of 3200 km 2 concentrates on aquaculture and fishing as well as salt making - Other areas focus on perennial plants and forestry
II. Advantages and disadvantages of agricultural sector in Vietnam: A. Advantages : 1. Fertile and expandable soil. There are more than 7,3 millions ha of production area which is alluvial and Feralitic soil. This kind of soil is known as damp tropical and rich characters. Reclaimable area is 2,1 millions ha, multi-crop area is 1,6 millions ha. 2. Moist tropical climate which is neither too hot nor cold creates favorable conditions for diversifying plantations and livestocks. There are 48 kinds of plants and 13 kinds of livestocks in 316 ecological sub-areas across the country. Moreover, it can do 2-3 crops per year in some areas.
3. Abundance of labor force: 20 millions of agricultural labors have work to do in about 150- 200 days/year, not taking into account 2 millions of unemployed. Moreover, 1,2-1,5 millions of young people supply to the labour force in rural areas every year. Developing industries and services also employ only a number of this force. Thousands of young labors in rural areas must be exported. 4. An important advantage: Easy and convenient international transportation. Vietnam has a system of road, rail, waterway and aviation which connects to most countries in the world.
5. " Doi moi " has created a social, political environment including many policies and regimes enhancing production, openness, regional and global integration. Many investors from developed countries has increasingly invested in agricultural sector and rural area in Vietnam. B. Disadvantages: 1. Agricultural, forestry and fishery infrastructure is incomplete and underdeveloped which could not be able to meet requirements of agricultural and rural modernization and industrialization. Irrigation, transportation, energy and production input meet 60% of need for production, especially in remote areas.
2. Low level of education, backward technology and difficult to access to information system. 1/3 among 9012 communes are facing with difficulties, in which 1710 communes are especially difficult. There are illiterate people, backward custom. There are still 600,000 ha milpa in high mountains. In our recent survey at 26 rural communities specialized in growing coffee, cashew, maize, and rice for export purposes, despite the fact that we have joined into AFTA in 1995, 48% of population said that they do not know what is AFTA. Among 52% remained, 35% of people said that they just hear about but do not understand AFTA issues..
3. Natural disasters, considerably storm, flood in rainy season and drought in dry season. Storm and flood destroy not only crops, infrastructure but also threaten the lives of people. Thousands of ha of crops have been wiped out in a long flood or drought. It is estimated that we lost 12- 15% of income per year caused by these disasters. That does not mention to hoarfrost, hailstone, hot and dry westerly wind… Natural disasters can happen at anytime and anywhere during the year.
4. Fragmentary production, small-scale field cause big difficulties for the construction, operation and management of infrastructure, mechanization and application of advanced technologies. We have found that 68% of rice-growing households have the field of less than one ha area, 47% coffee-producing households have producing land of less than one ha area. Even among 110,000 farms which are emerging as production bases embodied with higher level of production, 29% of them have producing land of more than two ha area.
III. Production and agricultural trade : Plants, livestocks Total value Self consu ming Domestic consumin g Export 1. Food plants 2. Industrial plants 3. Vegetables and fruit 4. Livestocks 5. Fish, shrimp 100 53.0 29.0 38.0 27.2 17.6 26.2 11.0 35.0 41.5 35.7 20.8 60.0 27.0 31.3 46.7 Hereinafter as summary of 4 surveys we have made from 2001 to 2004, surveying 1650 farming households in 96 communities of 17 provinces representing for 7 economic areas:
Based on above results, some conclusions were made on agricultural products generally and traded agricultural products specifically, which shared common views from local officials and the majority of households: 1. Low productivity caused by unwell varieties, incomprehensive production technologies, weak infrastructure and natural disasters. 2. Low quality by unwell varieties, incomplete production technologies, especially backward post- harvest and processing technologies. 3. Weak competitiveness because of low quality, high price, especially weak marketing experiences.
IV. Solutions to develop agricultural production and trade in post AFTA and WTO accession: 1. To ensure food security and sovereignty in all levels of households, community and nation by enhancing self production, marketing capability and knowledge of nutrition. 2. To establish some high quality specialized areas and intensive farming of some key traded plants and livestocks: coffee, cashew, rice, maize, sugar-cane, shrimp, fish... These are areas which intensively invested, ensuring inputs for industrially processed manufactories to produce good products meeting the need of domestic and international markets.
3. To improve post-harvest including: drying, classification, primary process, transportation and preservation. 4. To give a priority pushing investment in building a network of advanced processed facilities, appropriate equipped dock warehouse system. 5. To enhance and develop rapidly a system of information, marketing involving in producers, material suppliers, buyers, processors and consumers. Creating agricultural trade name of Vietnam in domestic and international markets.
6. To restore and protect natural resources, environment, firstly forest and water sources, biological diversification, traditional knowledge and heritage. 7. To continue reforming regimes and polices, especially investment and market policies in line with our situation in post AFTA and WTO accession. To support poor farmers and small-scale producers in coping with side effects of integration and trade liberalization.