AGODA

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Vietnam - Gov’t set to relax farmland ceiling

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Viet Nam News MEKONG DELTA — The Government is considering relaxing limits on individual farmland holdings, a move largely welcomed by experts despite misgivings about some negative social impacts. 
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Allowing larger land holdings will greatly facilitate modernisation of the country’s agriculture sector, many experts say.
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Currently, the allocation quota of farmland for annual crops for each household or individual must not exceed 2-3 hectares. Many people have been arguing for sometime that this limit runs counter to the needs of co-operatives and businesses engaging in industrialised, large-scale agricultural production.
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The national average land allocation for each household is extremely small at around 0.5-0.7ha. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) reckons that in order to overcome poverty, on average, each rice cultivating household must own at least 2ha.
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In a recent resolution, the government tasked the MARD, the Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment, and the Ministry of Justice, to prepare amendments to the existing Law on Land by the end of this year, with the focus on rectifying farmland quotas.
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Vũ Trọng Khải, former rector of the School for Training Rural and Agriculture Development Management Experts, said the government should have done this long ago.
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“The existing allocation quota that has been in place for years has actually hindered agricultural production,” he said.
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Khải pointed out the fact that the Law on Land also contains contradictory clauses, in that it stipulates a ceiling on how much land a farmer can own, but imposes no such limit on businesses.
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“That’s why some people still can work around this limit. Sáu Đức, a farmer I know in An Giang Province, had accumulated some 70 hectares of farmland years ago, despite the restriction. However, the ‘excessive’ land parcels are all registered under his relatives’ names. When he was able to open a company, he used the company’s legal entity to gather back all the parcels, and now he owns some 150 hectares,” Khải said
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