Vietnam reforms agriculture to lift growth: ADB

The Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2017 April 10 forecast Vietnam’s economy to grow by 6.5 percent in 2017 and 6.7 percent in 2018, as a result of rising activity in the manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail trade, banking and tourism sectors.

A transformation of Vietnam’s agriculture sector is vital for lifting growth and enabling Vietnam to graduate to upper-middle-income status, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in a new flagship report.

The report notes that continued record levels of foreign direct investment will boost domestic manufacturing while at the same time helping to lift Vietnam’s export earnings even though global and regional trade flows will remain depressed. Vietnam’s rapidly expanding middle-class, which is expected to double in size by 2030 to 33 million, will also help to push up consumer spending and boost retail activity.

Agricultural output is expected to pick up modestly in 2017 given the outlook for higher global food prices and a return to more normal weather. However the report highlights that the sector continues to underperform relative to the rest of the Vietnamese economy, dragging down overall growth.

The report shows that agriculture output per worker in Vietnam is one-third of Indonesia’s and less than half of Thailand’s and the Philippines’.

The report stresses that to transform agriculture, a number of major policy challenges will need to be addressed including introducing greater competition into agricultural supply-chains and postharvest processing, developing rural infrastructure to support higher-value adding cash crops, adopting more sustainable natural resource management practices, and better integrating climate change considerations into policy making processes.

By Uyen Phuong

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