Participants agreed that while the TPP will open up large markets for Vietnam’s farm produce and boost investment of the pact’s member countries in Vietnam, over 10 million Vietnamese farmer households are anticipated to face with an array of difficulties due to small scale operation.
Farmers are the most vulnerable to outside competition due to their lack of knowledge and low competitiveness, experts said, noting that the animal husbandry in particular is likely to be at a disadvantage compared to their peers in other countries who have long adopted modern and industrialized production process.
Against the setbacks, experts said the most important solution at present is raising awareness of farmers about the opportunities and challenges when joining the TPP, so that they will change their mindset on business production towards increasing productivity and product quality.
Farmer associations at all levels need to serve as bridges to connect farmers with businesses to sell products to the market, experts recommended, saying this is a way to protect the legitimate rights of farmers through contracts.
Chief Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO) in Vietnam JongHa Bae said Vietnam is forecast to benefit the most from the TPP compared to 11 other member economies.
However, Vietnam ’s agriculture will face fierce competition from foreign manufacturers when the tariff and non-tariff barriers are reduced and eliminated, he added.
He suggested setting up a mechanism to attract private investment in agriculture and urging the country to improve food quality and safety via strengthening institutional frameworks and building competitive capacity for farmers.