Industrialize and modernize agriculture and rural areas to develop agriculture, build new rural areas, and improve the life of farmers. Image: Gia Lai newspaper
1. Industrialization and modernization of agriculture and rural areas have a special importance for the development of agriculture, new rural areas to help improve the lives of farmers. That is the essential way for any country, especially Viet Nam which starts from the backward agricultural economy to build a modern economy because of the following reasons:
First, our country boasts a large rural population, accounting for almost 70% of the total population, over 47% are engaged in agricultural production; population growth rate in rural areas is still high; land acreage per capita is low and tends to decrease due to urbanization, expansion of infrastructure construction, low agricultural production level with mainly manual techniques.
Second, agriculture and rural area contribute an important part to capital accumulation for industrialization and modernization; they play an extremely important socio-economic strategic position in meeting fundamental requirements for the majority of people, such as generating jobs for redundant labor in rural areas, increasing income for farmers, raising purchasing power of the rural market, boosting its share in GDP and making more contributions to the state budget.
Third, the agricultural economy and rural areas have not yet got out of less-developed status. Economic restructuring and renovation of production methods are slow with mainly small and fragmented production; productivity, quality, added values of many commodities are low. The material and spirit life of the people in rural areas has not been significantly improved, and not on par with the achievements of the national renewal process; the poverty rate remains high, especially in ethnic minority, and remote areas; rich and poor gap between the rural and urban areas and between regions is large resulting in pressing social problems.
Fourth, international practices show that several countries have developed by agricultural exports, such as Australia, Argentina, Canada, among others. For some countries, agricultural development is the main measure to form domestic market; others also make agricultural and rural industry development the basic measures to solve essential requirements of economic life in the early stages of industrialization.
Fifth, for a country advancing to socialism from agricultural backwardness the key issue is the development of a commodity agriculture to restructure the economy towards large and modern production. The actual situation of Viet Nam as well as lessons of some Southeast Asian countries have confirmed the important role of agriculture and rural economy towards socio - economic stability and development of the country, especially for those countries advancing from agriculture. Immediate and long-term development of agriculture and rural economy in the direction of industrialization and modernization is a basis to boost socialist-oriented industrialization and modernization.
Sixth, rural areas are the major source of labor supply to implement industrialization and modernization. The process of restructuring rural economy in the direction of industrialization and service development is also the process for labor to transit from agriculture to industry and services towards absolute and comparative increase of industrial and service labor, and absolute and relative decrease of labour in agricultural.
2. During the 30 years of renovation, our Party has always considered "industrialization, agricultural and rural modernization a primary important task of industrialization and modernization of the country" as confirmed by the Resolution of the 7th Plenum of the Party Central Committee, 10th Tenure on agriculture, farmers and rural areas.
Important progress has been made in modernization of agriculture and rural areas. Changes have been made in rural areas; agricultural has maintained sustainable, development; grassroots political system in rural areas has been gradually strengthened.
Agriculture has grown at a relatively high speed, more than 3% a year, towards the production of goods; productivity, quality and efficiency in agricultural production have constantly improved. These have firmly ensured national food security; some export agricultural commodities, such as rice, coffee, rubber, among others have established high positions in the world market. Rural economy has shifted towards an increase of industry, services, and jobs; and forms of production organization have been renewed. Rural socio-economic infrastructure has been strengthened; and rural areas have made important changes. The material and spiritual life of the population in most rural areas has been increasingly improved. Achievements have been made in hunger elimination and poverty reduction which are highly appreciated by the international community. Grassroots democracy has been promoted. Political security, social law and order and social safety have been maintained. These are important prerequisites for implementing the National Target Program on Building New Rural Areas.
However, besides the progress and development, agriculture and rural development sector in our country is still a less and unstable developed sector and is facing innumerable difficulties, namely investment in agriculture, forestry and fisheries does not commensurate with the position and role of this economic sector; organizational models, and management production are unstable; economic structure is still purely agricultural; rural industry and service development are not on par hence high pressure on employment in rural areas; weak agricultural markets has exerted negative impacts on "inputs" and "outputs" of agricultural production; a number of state policies are not strong enough to stimulate agricultural development, so productivity and competitiveness of agricultural products are low. All these things make agriculture and rural areas lag further behind urban industry and services. Thus, industrialization and modernization of agriculture and rural areas are a practical imperative and the shortest way to bring agriculture and rural areas of our country out of current difficulties to develop commodity production, increase labor productivity, and improve the living standards of rural population.
Industrialization and modernization of agriculture and rural areas in our country must meet the basic requirements: socialist-oriented, linking development to consolidation of production forces, completing the new production relations in rural areas, building new rural areas, implementing the strategy of industrialization and modernization of the national economy, ensuring comprehensive benefits in economy, social aspect and national security, and ecological environment which are placed in the general trend of internationalization and regionalization of the economy in order to fully exploit the comparative advantages of the country; harmoniously combine traditional experience with modern technology and advanced technique following appropriate steps. Industrialization and modernization of agriculture and rural areas must address the relationship between agriculture, farmers and rural areas to make the farmers the subjects of the development process, and build new rural areas associated with the construction of industrial facilities, services and urban development planning fundamental task and comprehensive development and modernization of agriculture as the key.
The objectives of industrialization and modernization of agriculture and rural areas are to constantly improve the material and spirit life of rural people, ensure harmony between the regions, create faster changes in difficult regions, train farmers with production capacity on par with those of advanced countries in the region, political will, and capacity to manage new rural areas, buildd a comprehensive, modern and sustainable agriculture with large commodity production and high productivity, quality, efficiency and high competitiveness, ensure national food security, build new rural economic areas with modern socio-economic infrastructure and the of rational production form, link agriculture with rapid development of industry, services, urban planning, stable rural areas imbued with national culture, improvement in people’s knowledge, protection of ecological environment, and consolidation of the political system in the rural areas under the leadership of the Party.
Industrialization and modernization will create physical material and socio-economic prerequisites for converting a less developed agricultural-based economy into one with increasingly rational structure where labor uses advanced machinery and technology. Industrialization and modernization create the foundation, material and technical basis for the establishment, and perfection of new socialist production relations, consolidation of the political system, and national security and defense in rural areas.
In the coming years, internal and external resources must be focused to accelerate industrialization and economic modernization of agricultural economy and rural areas. This is the main content of the industrialization and modernization of the national economy. This is also confirmed in the draft Political Report of the Party Central Committee which will be submitted to the 12th National Party Congress.
3. As far as orientations are concerned, industrialization, modernization of agriculture, and rural areas should focus on:
First, higher awareness on the important role of agriculture and rural areas, the home of the majority of the population, labor force and land which have conditions for development and are an internal strength and competitive edge of our country.
Second, focus on practical and concrete projects to accelerate industrialization and modernization of agriculture and rural development, gradually change rural economy, alleviate poverty, improve people’s life, create conditions for stable and sustainable development of the country, and achieve the objectives of prosperous people, strong country, democracy, equity and civilization.
Third, spend an appropriate part of mobilized funds to invest in agricultural and rural development, form industry-agriculture-service complex in areas allowing food processing, production of agricultural tools, development of services for industrial production, agricultural industrialization, promotion of scientific-technology supply of materials, seeds, livestock and marketing of agriculture, forestry and fishery products.
Fourth, renovate policy and remove “bottlenecks" to truly liberate production forces in rural areas and attract resources for comprehensive and sustainable development, encourage the exploitation and put into use vacant land, barren hills and fallow land, implement intensive farming, increase productivity and purchasing power and develop stable the rural market.
On this basis, in the coming time, to continue to promote industrialization and modernization of agriculture and rural areas, efforts have to be made focusing on the eight basic groups of measures:
First, restructure agriculture economy and rural areas towards production of goods on the basis of ensuring national food security. First, establish large-scale concentrated commodity production areas to be able to apply advanced technique and technologies to grow high economic and commodity value crops and livestock of high economic value, commodity properties, carry out specialization so that to increase the quantity and quality of agricultural products, meet requirements of the processing industry, increase exports of agricultural products including forestry, aquatic products and seafood, give priority to grow crops, raise livestock of relatively large export scale and market stability, and pay special attention to rare products of Viet Nam’s advantage. To restructure rural economy, it is necessary to improve the proportion and speed of industrial development and services in rural economic structure. In doing so, development of bio-technology, processing technology, post-harvest technology of agricultural, forestry and aquatic products to enhance the value and competitiveness of agricultural products must be considered as the core content of industrialization and modernization of agriculture and rural economic development.
Second, develop rural industry, infrastructure, rural services, restructure rural labor to reduce pure agricultural labor, increase non-agricultural labor in traditional crafts, branches, handicrafts, small-industries, processing industry, rural industries producing consumer goods and exports, industries exploiting and processing of non-agricultural raw materials, industrial production of construction materials, services for production and people's life, build electrical socio-economic infrastructure, transport, communications linking urban and rural areas, establish economic-technical-commercial centers in population areas, and facilitate the development of an ecological agriculture and new rural areas.
Third, land policy is to be implemented to develop commodity agriculture based on effective use of land. Allow healthy land accumulation, but not to impoverish farmers. Accumulation of land must go hand in hand with generation of jobs and crafts, development of industry and services in rural areas to create jobs and higher incomes for the rural population.
Develop farm economy with different forms of ownership in areas having large acreage of land, and reclaim fallow land for cultivation of perennial crops and cattle rearing.
Fourth, conduct research, transfer and apply science-technology, step up irrigation, electrification, and mechanization, quickly increase technical equipment, renew agricultural and rural production technology, and transfer advanced technology to farmers. The State supports and creates conditions for promoting the production and use of mechanical products for agriculture, especially small and medium machinery and equipment. Gradually raise the level of processing technologies, post-harvest technology. Select and quickly acquire modern technology and advanced management methods in differerent stages and key industries of decisive significance and direct impact on innovation and improvement of advanced technology of many other industries. Promote the development of rural industries to play up the competitive edge and skills of Vietnamese to meet market demands. Industry and services are economic sectors will increasingly occupy important positions and a growing proportion of rural economy. The State helps train scientific personnel, technicians and entrepreneurs for agriculture and rural development.
Fifth, focus on the development and expansion of agricultural markets both at home and abroad. Make the whole country become a single market, strengthen production, improve people’s purchasing power, and consolidate rural commercial system. Establish some main agricultural export products which Viet Nam have major competitive advantages in international markets. Invest in market research, marketing activities and trade promotion to expand agricultural export market. Maintain and expand established market, extend outreach to new markets, multilateralise and diversify international trade relations, reduce dependence on few partners and through intermediary markets to heighten export effectiveness and stabilize market.
Sixth, facilitate and encourage all economic sectors to develop in agriculture and rural areas. Industrialization and modernization of agriculture and rural areas must be associated with the conversion, building and developing diverse forms of economic cooperation on a voluntary basis by farmer households to transform old-type cooperatives into new-type one providing production services for household economy, such as technical services, plant protection, breeding and seed supply, electricity, water, soil preparation, finance, commerce and product marketing.
Replicate the model of farmer household economy, forms of cooperative economy and cooperatives, farms and forestry farms, and farm economy associated with the processing and marketing businesses, pool synergy from other economic sectors to develop large-scale commodity production with high productivity, quality and efficiency.
Seventh, remove obstacles relating to policies and institutions to generate new momentum for strong and firm socio-economic development in rural areas, encourage legal enrichment coupled with hunger eradication and poverty reduction, and strengthen solidarity among rural population. Enhance accountability, dynamism and creativity of localities and branches to facilitate farmer households and economic sectors in rural areas and all other forces which have demands and capabilities to invest in agriculture, industry, small industries, crafts and services in rural areas in accordance to law.
Eighth, link industrialization and modernization of agriculture and rural areas to implementation of the National Target Program on Building New Rural Areas. Consider building new rural areas the objectives and requirements of sustainable development, urgent and especially important task in the cause of industrialization and modernization of the country in general and industrialization, modernization of agriculture and rural areas in particular. Thereby, build consensus and synergy of the whole political system, and generate concerted efforts from the whole society for implementation. Associations and organizations mobilize their members to participate and respond positively to the emulation movement to build new rural areas and the movement to study and follow the moral example of Ho Chi Minh and continue improving the quality of the campaign “All people are united to build cultural life in residential areas” and other emulation movements.
The article was published on Communist Review, No. 876 (October 2015)