A decade has passed since the plan for the Hoa Lam Vien high-tech ecological agricultural zone in Dong Anh District was approved. Despite the community's high expectations, the project remains on paper.
"We look up to the project as a way to transform our lives for the better, but years have passed and nothing has changed," Nguyen Quang Hoa, 48, a farmer in Mai Lam Commune, Dong Anh District, told The Hanoi Times.
Sitting next to Hoa, her neighbor Nguyen Mai Trang, 56, seems to have lost all hope in the project, which was supposed to become a major high-tech agricultural production center in northern Hanoi and have a transformative effect on surrounding areas. "I don't even want to think about it anymore," he said.
While it is understandable for people like Hoa and Trang to consider the project a lost cause, local authorities had a different opinion when Hoa Lam Vien and seven other high-tech agricultural projects were discussed at the recent question-and-answer session of the city's People's Council.
|Safe vegetable plantation in Gia Lam District. Photo: Anh Ngoc/The Hanoi Times|
During the session, Deputy Chairman of Hanoi People's Committee Nguyen Manh Quyen emphasized the importance of high-tech agriculture for the city's long-term development. He reaffirmed the goal of achieving 70% of agricultural production value through high technology by 2025.
Discussing the Hoa Lam Vien high-tech ecological agricultural zone, Quyen noted that although the Hanoi Standing Party Committee approved the project in 2013, the overlapping functions of different regulatory agencies have hindered the project's implementation.
"Since the introduction of the Investment Law in early 2023, the project is now under the jurisdiction of Hanoi," Quyen said.
According to the deputy chairman, the Department of Planning and Investment is assisting investors in completing the necessary documents and submitting them to relevant agencies for approval to start the Hoa Lam Vien high-tech ecological agricultural zone project as soon as possible.
Quyen also noted that in addition to Hoa Lam Vien, the city's People's Committee has recommended to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development the addition of seven other high-tech agricultural zone projects, which is seen as a boost to the development of high-tech agricultural zones in Hanoi in particular and Vietnam in general by 2030.
Acknowledging that developing high-tech agro-zones is a major challenge, as it requires significant initial investment and a slow return on capital, Quyen said the city has sought to review specific mechanisms and policies that will be incorporated into the revised Capital Law.
"This will create a framework to promote support for organizations and enterprises to invest in creating high-tech agricultural zones for future use," Quyen said.
He added that Hanoi also hopes the National Assembly will soon pass the revised Capital Law to facilitate the development of hi-tech agricultural zones.
|Modern pig farm in Soc Son District. Photo: Trong Tung/The Hanoi Times|
Agriculture as a foundation for socio-economic development
Hanoi's reignited interest in high-tech agro projects, especially at a time when the city is pushing hard to realize its five-year socio-economic plan of 2021-2025, sends a clear message on the vital role of agriculture for the capital's long-term development.
This is of particular importance given the fact that Hanoi is among the country's top three provinces/cities with a significant agricultural presence, estimated total production value of over VND40.6 trillion (US$1.73 billion) in 2022, up 2.6% against the previous year's.
Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, Chairman of the Hanoi People's Council, emphasized the crucial role of agriculture, farmers, and rural areas in the industrialization, modernization, construction, and development of the capital, saying that the sector is the foundation for sustainable socio-economic development, political stability, security, and defense.
He added that Hanoi has focused on improving agricultural production and rural economic development to increase productivity, value, and efficiency while prioritizing the development of economic and social infrastructure in rural areas, improving farmers' material and spiritual lives.
However, despite these achievements, there are shortcomings in promoting agricultural development, Tuan said, adding that these include small-scale agricultural production and unstable market, which affect productivity, quality, efficiency, and farmers' income.
He also noted that the agricultural sector continues to face obstacles in terms of administrative procedures for investment and land use, which discourage businesses from investing.
"Mechanisms and policies are implemented slowly and not in a timely manner, which is not proportional to the city's potential and strengths," he said.
Resolving these issues is of great importance and urgency, as they directly affect the income and quality of life of many farmers in the country. The authorities are actively addressing these concerns and working to lead and direct efforts to resolve them, Tuan said.
Echoing Tuan's views, Tran Sy Thanh, Chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee, said the city had made great efforts to promote the development of the agricultural sector and new rural construction.
This progress results from farmers' determination and the city's investment. Although the agricultural growth target of 1.2% is challenging, Hanoi has achieved a growth rate of 3-5% by implementing new production models and methods, Thanh said.
Acknowledging that Hanoi's agricultural sector has not yet reached its full potential due to various factors, including slow planning, the mayor stressed the importance of completing detailed planning and promoting investment in the agricultural sector in the coming period.
"The city's Department of Planning and Investment has been instructed to compile a list of investment opportunities in the sector and submit it to the City Council for approval in 2023," Thanh said, noting the immediate focus would be on the list of high-tech farming projects.
In addition to the Hoa Lam Vien high-tech ecological agriculture zone, Hanoi has applied for approval of seven high-tech agricultural projects, as follows:
- A high-tech agricultural production zone in Hoai Duc District covering about 668 hectares in An Thuong and Song Phuong communes;
- A high-tech application production and service zone in Yen Nghia Ward, Ha Dong District, covering about 76 ha on the banks of the Day River;
- A high-tech agricultural production zone in Hoang Kim Commune, Me Linh District, in about 105 ha on the banks of the Red River;
- A research and development zone for high-tech plant varieties, in 9. 44 ha in Song Phuong Commune (Dan Phuong District);
- A high-tech agricultural production zone on the banks of the Day River covering an area of 23.3 ha in Dong Thap Commune (Dan Phuong District);
- An agricultural production zone integrated with eco-tourism covering an area of 200 ha in Hiep Thuan Commune (Phuc Tho District);
- A high-tech agricultural production zone covering an area of 80 ha in Kim Son Commune (Son Tay Town).