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Vietnam - an agricultural country


Industry of Vietnam
Industry of Vietnam

The official labor organization in North Vietnam is the Vietnam General Confederation of Trade Unions, founded in Hanoi in 1946. After the country was reunified, the organization absorbed the South Vietnam Trade Union Federation. The confederation is an umbrella organization overseeing the activity of specialized labor unions in Vietnam, such as the National Union of Building Workers. By the mid-1990s the confederation contained more than 50 labor unions with a total membership of more than 4 million. As in all Communist systems, the labor movement in Vietnam is under strict party supervision. Labor unrest, including unsanctioned strikes, has increased since the doi moi reforms were launched in 1986. Much of the hostility fueling this unrest results from poor working conditions and low salaries in foreign-owned enterprises. Vietnam’s labor force numbered 44 million in 1996. Agriculture, forestry, and fishing employed 58 percent of the workforce in 2004; the services sector employed 25 percent; and industry employed 17 percent.

Vietnam has traditionally derived the bulk of its wealth from agriculture, especially from the cultivation of wet rice. During the traditional and colonial eras most farmland was privately owned and cultivated either by owners or tenants. Under Communist rule, however, the government placed farmland in the North under collective ownership. After reunification, the government attempted to collectivize all privately held farmland in the South, but local resistance and declining grain production eventually persuaded party leaders to dismantle the collective system. Instead, they granted long-term leases to farmers in return for an annual quota of grain paid to the state. Surplus production could be privately consumed or sold on the free market. Agricultural production increased dramatically, rising 62 percent between 1985 and 1997.

By far the most important crop is rice, which is farmed under wet conditions in the Red and Mekong deltas as well as in parts of central Vietnam.

Most rice-growing areas can support two crops per year, and three crops per year are possible in parts of central Vietnam. Total rice production rose from about 16 million metric tons in 1985 to 36 million metric tons in 1997, while tea production rose from 28,200 to 153,000 metric tons. Other important crops are coconuts, coffee, cotton, fruits and vegetables, rubber, and sugarcane. The annual fish catch increased from 808,000 metric tons in 1985 to 3.6 million metric tons in 2007.

The growth of commercial forestry has been hindered by a lack of transportation facilities as well as by the mixture of different species of trees, which makes it uneconomical to harvest a single species.

Furthermore, population pressures have increased the rate of deforestation. Since 1992 the government has banned the export of logs and some timber products in an attempt to preserve remaining forests. Most harvested roundwood is used for household fuel. Timber production, primarily teak and bamboo, has remained stagnant. "Vietnam" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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