From January 1 next year, the Law on Crop Production (the Law) will take effect, superseding the 2004 Ordinance on Plant Varieties.
Composed of 85 articles arranged in seven chapters, the Law prescribes plant varieties; fertilizers; cultivation; harvest, preliminary processing, preservation, processing, trading, and quality management of crop products. It also defines rights and obligations of organizations and individuals engaged in crop production and state management of crop production.
One among the principles set forth in the Law is to develop crop production according to value chains, in a market-driven manner, and in conformity with crop production development strategies, and master plans and plans on use of land and other resources. The State will create favorable conditions for the development of cooperation and association in production, formation of centralized commodity production areas, contract-based production and production with certified quality. The Law also aims at assurance of food security and the harmony of interests between the State and other stakeholders.
The Law has many new noteworthy provisions.
|Phan Huy Vu, a farmer in Binh Phuoc province, at his vegetable patch__Photo: Duong Chi Cuong/VNA|
Management of plant varieties
The Law prescribes plant variety management in a modern way that suits practical requirements and management capacity, reducing administrative procedures and costs for businesses while ensuring strict management, minimizing risks for producers and users, and creating a fair business environment.
Under Article 13, an organization or individual registering for recognition of circulation of a plant variety under its/his/her own name and satisfying the conditions on the protection of plant varieties prescribed in the law on intellectual property will receive a circulation recognition decision concurrently with a patent for such plant variety, if it/he/she so wishes. In case the plant variety belongs to major plant species, it must be tested by an accredited independent lab before a circulation recognition decision is issued. Such testing requirement will also be applied to cases of extension of circulation registration decisions. However, the testing process testing will be shortened compared to that under current regulations. Unlike the 2004 Ordinance on Plant Varieties, the Law does not require testing of plant varieties not belonging to major plant species. The owners of such plant varieties may make self-declaration of circulation of plant varieties. Particularly for specialty or indigenous plant varieties or plant varieties having been in use for a long time, exceptional circulation recognition decisions will be issued.
Noticeably, instead of just promulgating a list of plant varieties as at present, under the Law, circulation recognition decisions, for plant varieties belonging to major plant species, and owners’ declarations of circulation, for other plant varieties, will be published on the portal of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
In order to provide good services to user, the Law underlines the socialization of researches and transfer of technologies, testing and conformity assessment in the field of plant varieties.
Management of fertilizers
Fertilizers are commodities subject to conditional business. Under Article 36, except organic fertilizers manufactured for non-commercial purposes, fertilizers manufactured for export under contracts with foreign parties, and some kinds of imported fertilizers, all fertilizers must obtain a decision recognizing their circulation in Vietnam.
Domestic organizations and individuals or foreign organizations and individuals having representative offices or branches in the country may register for recognition of circulation of fertilizers under their own names. However, each organization or individual may register only one fertilizer name for each ingredient formula and nutritional contents.
Fertilizers that meet quality indicators set in national technical standards on fertilizer quality and have their testing results conformable to national standards will be granted a circulation registration decision. Particularly, testing is not required for root growth fertilizers which are organic fertilizers, single inorganic fertilizers composed of only nitrogen or phosphorus or potassium, and compound inorganic fertilizers composed of nutrient elements being nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium joined together by chemical bonds.
A fertilizer circulation registration decision will be valid for five years and may be extended.
In order to use natural resources effectively and sustainably, the Law devotes Chapter IV to providing cultivation activities, focusing on use of natural resources, agricultural facilities, equipment and supplies in cultivation.
The development of centralized commodity production zones and production partnership are also introduced in this Chapter. Under Article 62, the development of centralized commodity production zones must take into account physical and chemical properties of soil, climate, water sources, biological characteristics of plants and regional advantages; and ensure the building of raw material areas associated with processing activities and markets.
Provincial-level People’s Committees will prepare plans and schemes on development of centralized commodity production zones according to planning. Local administrations at all levels have to create favorable conditions and provide support for parties to negotiate, conclude and fulfill commitments under production and product consumption cooperation and partnership contracts. They will also render support for infrastructure construction, logistics services and trade promotion for centralized commodity production zones.
The Law, for the first time, mentions the grant of crop production zone codes, which will be conducted by provincial-level People’s Committees under a roadmap designed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. This is expected to better monitor and control crop production and help trace the origin of crop products. Organizations and individuals applying for grant of crop production zone codes will be entitled to support from the State.
Harvest, preliminary processing, preservation, processing, trading and quality management of crop products
The Law adds this content to ensure the consistency in chains of production, processing and trading of crop products.
Harvest of crop products must minimize wastage and ensure product quality and economic efficiency. Crop products used as input materials of processing establishments must be of clear origin and satisfy quality and safety standards. Plant byproducts must be collected, disposed of or used in a proper manner without causing environmental pollution and spread of plant pests. The Law also requires establishments purchasing, storing and processing crop products to apply appropriate technical measures to preserve crop products in order to ensure their quality and safety.
The establishment crop product preservation and processing facilities connected with raw material production areas will be encouraged. Organizations and individuals engaged in the development of outlet markets for crop products; the building of chains from production to consumption; and the establishment of raw material areas serving domestic processing and trade as well as export will be entitled to support and incentive policies provided in the Law and other relevant laws.
International cooperation on crop production
According to Article 7 of the Law, Vietnam will implement international cooperation in crop production with foreign countries, territories and international organizations on the basis of equality, mutual benefit, respect for national independence and sovereignty and law of each party and international law.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will assume the prime responsibility for, and coordinate with other ministries, ministerial-level agencies and provincial-level People’s Committees in, implementing international cooperation on crop production.
The following contents will be prioritized in international cooperation on crop production: scientific research and transfer of technologies related to plant varieties, agricultural supplies, crop production processes and technologies, postharvest technologies, information exchange and genetic resources of plant varieties; training of high-quality workers in crop production; investment cooperation, production connection, forecast and development of outlets for crop products; and establishment and mutual recognition of quality certification systems in crop production.- (VLLF)