Home > Vietnam
Vietnam Agriculture and Fishing Overview
Agriculture and fishing
The Mekong River delta in the south and the Red River delta in the north are crucial for agriculture in Vietnam. In particular, rice is grown here, which is the completely dominant crop. In the highlands, commercial crops are grown; coffee, in particular, has become an important export crop.
Forty percent of the labor force in Vietnam works in agriculture. However, its share of GDP has fallen from about half in the mid-1990s to less than one-fifth today.
Roughly a quarter of the country's area is cultivated. The pressure on the land is severe - the area cultivated corresponds to 0.07 hectares per inhabitant, one of the lowest figures in the world. Large areas of agricultural land disappear every year as the cities expand, and the land is over-utilized and leached. Nevertheless, the cultivated area increased slightly during the first decade of the 21st century, thanks to investments in artificial irrigation and plantations for rubber and coffee.
The Red River delta is harvested twice a year, thanks to an almost 2,000 year old water control system. In recent years, modern irrigation has made it possible to get two harvests even in the Mekong Delta. In parts of the central lowlands, which receive double monsoon rains, crops are harvested three times a year.
In the mountainous regions it is more difficult to cultivate enough to guarantee food supply. In addition, the locals, who are often Swede-using minority people, are increasingly involved in land conflicts. Coffee is grown on large plantations usually run by people from the lowlands. Other commercial crops grown in the highlands are cashew nuts, rubber, peanuts, tea and jute.
Vietnamese agriculture has undergone dramatic changes since the 1980s. All land is still owned by the state, but individual farmers have the right to lease land for 20 years at a time. The farmers can also sell the lease or let it be inherited. But evictions have become more and more common as the state expands the infrastructure in the country, or seizes land to make room for investors. Those affected rarely get justice in court and those who participate in public protests run the risk of harassment.
Many Vietnamese breed pigs, chickens, ducks and buffaloes for both house needs and sales.
Fishing is an important industry. Foreign investment in the 1990s has led to a sharp rise and seafood - mainly shrimp and pangasius - is now one of Vietnam's most important export products. However, cultivation of giant shrimp along the coasts has meant that mangrove swamp has been scrapped to give way to cultivation ponds. In order to avoid fishing, the government is trying to control part of the fishery to hitherto unexploited deep-sea areas.
FACTS - AGRICULTURE
Agriculture's share of GDP
14.6 percent (2018)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
39.3 percent (2016)
Plans for nuclear power plants are scrapped
The government is planning to build a first nuclear power plant in a grinding bag after the project proved to be considerably more expensive than planned. Vietnam decided in 2009 to build a nuclear power plant with two principals in the province of Ninh Thuan with the support of a Russian and a Japanese company.
US raises arms embargo
During a visit to Vietnam, US President Barack Obama announces that the United States is fully lifting the remaining embargo on arms sales to Vietnam. Obama says that thus the last lingering traces of the Vietnam War are gone. The US decision makes it easier for Vietnam to equip and modernize its defense. However, the US emphasizes that the decision does not have to do with the tense situation between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea, but that it is part of the normalization of relations with Vietnam after the war in the 1970s.
Elections to the National Assembly
When elections are made to the National Legislative Assembly, 86 of the 500 seats go to politicians belonging to ethnic minorities, 133 to women and 21 seats to formally independent candidates approved by the Communist Party. Four seats are not added as no candidate in the electoral district has succeeded in getting the 50 percent of the votes required to take the seat in the assembly. The turnout is 99 percent.
Prisoner of conscience released
The Catholic Church announces that the imprisoned priest Nguyen Van Ly, who has been imprisoned or in house arrest for the past two decades, has been released. The release takes place a few days before US President Barack Obama arrives in Vietnam. Nguyen Van Ly has advocated democratic reforms and is therefore seen as hostile to the regime.
Mass demonstrations against fish death
Hundreds of people are demonstrating in Hanoi two consecutive weekends against a Taiwanese steel plant that they believe is behind an extensive poisonous spill that caused mass deaths among fish in the sea off central Vietnam's coast and that damaged the coastal fishery there. The police disperse the protesters and seize some of them.
New government is formed
Prime Minister Phuc appoints a new government, consisting of 21 ministers in addition to his own. Three of them are Deputy Prime Ministers and 18 are Trade Ministers.
Change of Prime Minister's post
The National Assembly elects Nguyen Xuan Phuc as new prime minister. Phuc is the only candidate and receives 90 percent of the members' votes.
Police Chief becomes President
The National Assembly elects the high-ranking police chief Tran Dai Quang as the country's new president. He receives 91.5 percent of the members' votes.
Woman becomes President of the National Assembly
For the first time, a woman, party veteran Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, is elected President of the National Assembly.
Three women are jailed for regime criticism
A court in Ho Chi Minh City sentenced one woman to four years in prison and two women to three years in prison each for waving in front of the US Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City with the flag belonging to the US-supported South Vietnam during the war in the 1970s. According to the court, the women have committed themselves to spread "propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam".
Success for the Conservatives
The Communist Party holds a congress for a week. New leaders are appointed and the party tries to solve a number of political and economic problems. Relations with China are high on the agenda. Congress is preceded by fierce internal power struggles between reformists and conservatives. The latter go out of battle and reform-friendly Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung loses the battle for the party leader post. Instead, the incumbent Secretary-General, the conservative Nguyen Phu Trong, known for a tougher line against China, is re-elected. Dung remains as prime minister, but is greatly weakened within the party summit. He is not elected to the Central Committee, which in effect means the end of his political career.
Regime-critical bloggers are imprisoned
Blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh, better known as Anh Ba Sam, is sentenced to five years in prison for writing regime-critical articles on his website. Lawyers and human rights activists call the trial a "travesty of justice". Anh Ba Sam has been in custody since 2014.
Increased tensions in the South China Sea
Vietnam warns China twice on the same week that neighboring countries "threaten peace" in the region. The warnings come after Chinese flights landed again on a disputed reef in the South China Sea.