Promoting Strong Cooperation Between Vietnam and Japan in The Agricultural Sector (19-04-2021)

On December 12, 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam cooperated with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF) to organize the 5th high-level dialogue on agricultural cooperation between Vietnam and Japan. The dialogue took place online under the chair of the two Ministers of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) – Mr. Nguyen Xuan Cuong and the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF) – Mr. Kotaro Nogami.
Promoting Strong Cooperation Between Vietnam and Japan in The Agricultural Sector

During this dialogue, the two parties extensively re-evaluated the achived period's outcomes. Based on that, the two parties agreed to jointly implement the mid-term and long-term vision of Vietnam-Japan agricultural cooperation phase 2 (2020 - 2024).

At the dialogue, Minister-Mr. Nguyen Xuan Cuong highly appreciated the Japanese cooperation in recent years in all socio-economic fields of Vietnam in general and the agricultural sector in particular. The two sides have regularly exchanged cooperation in all aspects, at intergovernmental levels, ministries, branches, and SOM groups. In the agricultural sector, the two sides have cooperated on main contents including: Irrigation works, agricultural value chain supporting infrastructure and environmental protection, climate change response, promoting investment by private enterprises, applying advanced technology, agricultural value chain capacity improvement; supporting Vietnam to formulate policies and training high-quality human resources in agriculture; expanding the pilot models and enhancing the local potentials and strengths.

Assessing the potentials of Japanese partners, Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said that Vietnam has huge potential advantages in agricultural development plus Japan is a great power, processing technologies world-class modern agricultural products and great human resource training center for agricultural development will be a great opportunity for cooperation between the two sides in the coming time.

Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong believes that the coming time will bring strong opportunities and strengthen relationships in all three axes. Cooperation activities exist along the government sector axis. Furthermore, the business axis and citizen axis are supported by training programs aimed at enhancing production management capability in farm households, cooperatives, and small businesses.

Previously, during General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong's official visit to Japan in May 2015, the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) signed a medium and long-term vision of agricultural cooperation between Vietnam and Japan Phase 1 (2015-2019) in Tokyo, Japan.

Building food supply chains; Adapting to climate change; Educating high-quality human capital are the key contents of this vision, which focuses on promoting Vietnam's agriculture. Vietnam's agriculture has benefited greatly from the introduction of the 2015-2019 vision, which has improved infrastructure, encouraged private investment, and strengthened human resources for sustainable agricultural development, gradually solving inadequacies in agricultural production. Since then, it has contributed significantly in the process of restructuring the agricultural sector in Vietnam in the recent period.

Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong, in his assessment of the time, stated that the two sides have encouraged agricultural product trade, with exports from Vietnam to Japan increasing at a rate of 10-12 percent per year, with a total value of 3.5 billion USD in 2019. In addition, there were 11 technical assistance projects using non-refundable ODA and Japanese loan projects under the Vision between the two ministries, with a total capital of about 750 million USD.

“Human resource training has benefited from the cooperation process, with 20,000 technicians and senior human resources in Vietnam receiving training in Japan. This is a necessary resource for agricultural restructuring, not only in the immediate future but also in the future”, Mr. Nguyen Xuan Cuong affirmed.

However, the Minister stated that there is still a lot of potential for both sides to promote growth in the agricultural sector in the future. Japanese companies have invested $60 billion in Vietnam through 6,000 projects, while agriculture has received just $400 million in investment. Meanwhile, Vietnam has a number of products that apply the most advannced technologies. Seafood, fruits, and other similar items are very common among Japanese consumers. To further encourage two-way trade, we will need to perform research and cooperate in our upcoming strategy. In particular, it is necessary to make the most of technology to boost the development potentials of the two countries in the agricultural sector. Furthermore, Vietnam expects the Japanese side to assist in the development of climate change adaptation power.

Minister Kotaro Nogami said that we have had a lot of cooperation in the past and that we need to cooperate even more in the future. In the agriculture sector, Mr. Kotaro Nogami claimed that the free trade agreements signed by the two sides, such as JVFTA and RCEP, ect offer more ways for the two sides to encourage closer trade cooperation. We need to make the most of all of the commitments in the agreements. In the coming time, Japan will continue to promote cooperation in agricultural fields with Vietnam. Continuing to assist Vietnam in the creation of high-quality human capital.

Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Vietnam's Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Kotaro Nogami, Japan's Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries on technology collaboration in irrigation and drainage, as well as the protection of aquatic resources and responsible management of fisheries in the fisheries sector. The two sides have agreed to adopt the mid-term and long-term Vision for Vietnam-Japan Agricultural Cooperation Phase 2 in the years 2020-2024, which contains the following core elements: Improving agricultural infrastructure: irrigation works, systems supporting the agricultural supply chain; environmental conservation, climate change response; private sector investment promotion, applying advanced technology, and improving agricultural value chain governance capacity.

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