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Agriculture development a key focus

Released at: 12:15, 28/12/2016

Agriculture development a key focus

Photo: H.Van

Startup forum hears of importance of agriculture in economic development.

by Hai Van

Agriculture will be the most important focus for Vietnam’s economic development in the future, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vu Tien Loc said during his opening address at the “Building a Startup Ecosystem and Innovation in Agriculture” forum in Hanoi on December 27.

Startups and agriculture are crucial for Vietnam’s economy, he added, and the combination of tourism and agriculture is an important driver of Vietnam’s agriculture development not just economically but also politically.

The goal of the startup forum was to review and discuss the status of and solutions for Vietnamese startups in the agriculture sector. It attracted a large number of participants from central and local agencies, enterprises, business associations, investment funds, and universities.

Mr. Nguyen Quoc Hien, Head the Department of Business Administration at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the number of State-owned agriculture enterprises has fallen recently, with 244 having undergone restructuring.

As at February there were 4,424 agriculture enterprises compared to 2,379 enterprises in 2007. Most achieved good economic efficiency, with indicators reflecting profitability being higher than companies in other sectors.

However, the number of enterprises in agriculture is quite low and occupy just 1 per cent of the total. Their size is small and infrastructure and services are limited.

“Enterprises only pay attention to production and don’t focus on marketing,” Mr. Hien said. “Policies on land, tax incentives for business investment, and credit for agricultural development and are less than needed.”

Startup forums and startup policies introduced recently by the government show that the government is taking an interest in the sector, especially agriculture startups, and the sector provides motivation for national economic restructuring.

General Director of the Orca Group in the Southeast Asian region, Loreen Weintraub, spoke of the experience of the group as an agriculture startup in Israel. In the last 20 years they have developed agriculture along with four factors: the environment, high technology, bio-technology, and research and development.

She believes that Vietnamese startups in agriculture have achieved success because they have attracted research and development from large enterprises.

The factors supporting the success of startups, she added, are global thinking and choosing excellent investors. Startups themselves must cooperate with partners and consider the environment to develop sustainably.

There have been numerous startup support activities held over the last few years, including a startup exchange in 2013 by VCCI, the “Agriculture Start-up” forum held by the Hanoi Agricultural University in 2015, and the “National Start-up” contest in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.

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