Vietnam Has Attained Food Security Through Agriculture - Envoy
The protracted and arduous struggle of the Vietnamese people for national liberation did not just result in the hoisting of national flag and such other symbolic attributes of nationhood. It resulted in complete seizure and mobilisation of national initiative and resources to attain food sufficiency, steadily growing national economy.The Vietnam's Minister of Agriculture and rural development, Mr. Cao Duc Phat, was in Abuja as a special envoy of the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and he took time off to speak exclusively to Leadership's Foreign Editor, CHARLES ONUNAIJU. Excerpts
Minister, this is your first time in Nigeria having been invited to the auspicious occasion of Nigerian's 50th Independent anniversary, what is your impression?
First of all, it is my great honour to be here as a special envoy of the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to convey the warmth and congratulation from the President and people of Vietnam to Nigeria, the message from the Vietnamese people to Nigeria is a great wish of peace and prosperity to the Nigerian people.
During my stay here, I have had a warm and hospitable reception. During my stay here, I have met various people and also held a meeting with the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development. From the various people I met, I formed a strong impression that there is sufficient and compelling ground to forge a strong cooperative relationship between Nigeria and Vietnam, and I highly appreciate this wide spread sentiment. I, therefore commit myself to work whole-heartedly with Nigerian counter part, to realise the intention of close cooperation between the two countries.
As you may know, most of Africa and Nigeria gained political independence 50 years ago, but one of the challenges remains in the area of food security, unlocking the potential in the rural areas and modernising our agriculture. Vietnam has done well in these crucial regards. What in Vietnam's experience can be useful to Nigeria and even to the rest of Africa?
I fully share your overall idea, because food security is important. For any big nation with huge population, it is important to guarantee food security as basis for social stability and socio-economic development. That is why in Vietnam, for many decades, we have focused on food security and that was very helpful for the country. To achieve the goals of food security, we carried out agrarian reforms and the core of this reform process was market-oriented reform and at the same time, we mobilised resources to invest in agriculture, including resources from government and people from the private sector.
When you had a discussion with your Nigerian counterpart, did you have an understanding of where to begin your co-operation?
Vietnam and Nigeria have been longstanding friends and have supported each other politically. And now, we are co-operating in economic development, and in the area of agriculture we see a great potential for effective cooperation. We can exchange seeds because as I see it, we have similar ecological conditions and we can work together to promote bilateral trade.
The current trade between Nigeria and Vietnam is quite below its potential; do you envisage a greater and improved cooperation in this area?
Yes, when I see the statistics of import and export at each country, and I see that the annual volume of Nigeria-Vietnam is about $1 million a year, I cannot but agree with you that the trade volume between the two countries is quite below its potential. I think we need to work closely to promote trade in the field of agriculture. The two countries can trade many kinds of agricultural products and inputs.
Africa and Nigeria have admired Vietnam for its legendary heroism. Under the venerable, Comrade Ho Chi Minh, or Uncle Ho as he was better known among Vietnamese, you defeated and humbled the two imperialist powers, United States of America and France. For sure, you have gone beyond the routing of these powers. So, what is more about Vietnam beyond the feat of your legendary heroism?
Now, we continue our spirit of patriotism and lofty banner of Ho Chi Minh's through to promote social and economic developments. The same spirit guide us to develop open and friendly relationship, as we build bridges of friendship across all countries of the world, and we determined to contribute to the peace and prosperity of the world.
Last modified 05-10-2010