Sep. 13, 2018
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc recently called for Vietnam's agriculture sector to become one of the top 15 most developed in the world in just ten years and utilise scientific and technological advances. His Excellency further emphasized that more innovation is needed to generate new drivers for growth to ensure macroeconomic stability. Such an ambitious agenda can be achieved only if the government embraces agricultural innovation.
Unleashing the possibilities of modern agriculture to support sustainable, inclusive development requires enormous investment, collaboration and a stable policy and regulatory environment. All three factors are critical in the context when Vietnam harnesses cutting-edge technology to accelerate its development.
Putting exciting new technology such as data science in the hands of farmers also relies on allowing them to continue using the tools that have helped to feed billions over recent decades. More people have access to safe, quality food than ever before in Vietnam and worldwide because farmers continue to have access to technology developed over the years.
To this day, crop protection tools such as pesticides play a critical role in producing more food using fewer resources. Without these tools, more than half of the world's crops would be lost to insects, diseases and weeds, leading to enormous economic and environmental damage. To increase the competitiveness of Vietnamese farmers as well as to ensure the future investment in innovation, Vietnamese farmers should be encouraged to have access to safe crop protection products supported by high quality training and education. This will ensure that farmers continue to produce safe, affordable and nutritious food for the community and export.
Against this backdrop, we call on the government to ensure that crop protection tools are properly assessed through a consistent, scientifically rigorous process in line with internationally accepted methods and standards. Such assessments need to be conducted by scientific experts and a suitable timeline should apply to allow for a thorough review. This is consistent with the direction recently set by the Prime Minister when His Excellency called for the removal of unnecessary government procedures that can stifle production and trade while reinforcing the need for transparency.
The industry takes its responsibility seriously and offers its commitment and support to help the Government achieve its food safety objectives. This includes continuing to research the development of alternative natural products, to promote the importance of the responsible use of crop protection products in Vietnam's agricultural sector, as well as providing a scientific and international standards-based approach towards achieving the government's objective of 30% reduction of product registrations by 2021 without sacrificing the sustainability and competitiveness of Vietnam agriculture. Also, it is important that proper police controls are reinforced to prevent illegal imports to Vietnam.