By Tieu Tan – Translated by Kim Khanh
By Tieu Tan – Translated by Kim Khanh
This year I will have Tet in Hanoi. On the morning of the 1st day of the lunar New Year I will get up early to walk.
The scene will be great when the street is quiet and I can see what was left after the New Year’s Eve, French Ambassador to Vietnam Nicolas Warnery told VietnamNet.
French Ambassador to Vietnam Nicolas Warnery. Photo: Pham Hai
It seems that you have natural bonds with Vietnam when you served as the French Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City (2004-2007) and last September you were appointed as Ambassador to Vietnam?
Fifteen years ago, I had a term in Ho Chi Minh City that lasted more than three years. At that time my children were still in school, so my whole family lived in the city. Now, I am very pleased to return to Vietnam as an Ambassador. While working as the French Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, I had many occasions to go to Hanoi when there were high-level visits to Vietnam or meetings organized by the French Embassy.
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have different features. Ho Chi Minh City used to be a port city, a commercial center and now is the economic hub with very active activities. Historically, Hanoi is a political, cultural, and academic center, so it has a different pace.
Regardless of position, I have not only worked in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City but always taken advantage of opportunities to visit other localities in Vietnam. During this term, as the French Ambassador to Vietnam, I have returned to Da Nang, Hue, Da Lat, Dien Bien and I plan to visit Can Tho, Nha Trang, Hai Phong in the coming time because each Vietnamese cities and locality, whether big or small, has their own characteristics.
Vietnam in 2020 assumes dual responsibility: ASEAN Chairman and Non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. What is your assessment of Vietnam’s current position in the region and the world?
2020 was a very important year for Vietnam as it took on the roles of ASEAN Chairman and Non-permanent member of the UN Security Council at the same time. Vietnam has been very successful in assuming these two roles. Right from the beginning of the year when Vietnam became the Chairman of ASEAN, the Covid-19 pandemic occurred, and since March, all ASEAN activities were organized online. Despite these difficulties and challenges, Vietnam achieved the goals set out during its term.
Within the framework of the UN Security Council and the UN, Vietnam performed an outstanding role, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, in early January 2020, as Chairman of the UN Security Council of the month, Vietnam held a seminar related to the UN Charter and then during the year, in Hanoi, Vietnam successfully held a related event on women’s roles with peace and security.
At the end of 2020, did you experience the traditional New Year of Vietnam?
I’ve had Tet many times in Vietnam.
French Ambassador to Vietnam Nicolas Warnery. Photo: Pham Hai
Do you see any similarity between the Vietnamese traditional New Year and the holidays of the French people?
The year-end holidays in France and Tet in Vietnam have similarities, when it comes to family reunion. For France, we focus most on Christmas Eve and the next day when we meet relatives and family members.
In Vietnam, I see Tet as a reunion occasion, but this holiday is longer and has different rituals from other holidays. Not only New Year’s Eve, on the 1st day of New Year, the Vietnamese have the custom of visiting the parents… It is also an opportunity to tighten family and social relations.
During my term in Vietnam, I was once lucky to witness the reunion of a Vietnamese family. I saw a bond between the old, the young, all family members, creating a very similar atmosphere in France during Christmas.
More specifically, the first day of the Vietnamese New Year is very similar to the New Year’s Day in France, when there are almost no people on the street. Going out on the street that day will be a very special feeling.
Could you share with us your plan to experience your Vietnamese New Year this year?
This year I will have Tet in Hanoi. On the morning of the 1st day of the lunar New Year I will get up early to walk. The scene will be great when the street is quiet and I can see what was left after the New Year’s Eve.
I plan to go to Ngoc Son temple in Hoan Kiem lake. On the morning of the 1st day of New Year, many people come here to burn incense.
What is your expectation of the cooperation relationship between France and Vietnam in the new year?
2021 is a very special because after the National Party Congress, Vietnam will have new leaders. It may be the year to put an end to Covid-19 pandemic and the two countries will make more efforts to strengthen bilateral relations. We hope that 2021, after the pandemic is under control, the two sides will work together to promote stronger relations in all fields such as economy, culture, and health.
Healthcare is one of the key areas of cooperation between the two countries, with a long tradition of cooperation.
In the future, we will continue this partnership, also in response to Covid, vaccines and other issues.
During your term, what fields will you focus on with the efforts to strengthen relations between the two countries?
During my term, I hope to further promote the strategic partnership between Vietnam and France, tighten the political relationship between the two sides, and promote projects in economic, culture, higher education and projects related to climate change, environmental protection…
In general, France and Vietnam will promote bilateral relations, and exert joint efforts to promote multilateral relations.
I would like to add that there is a highly iconic project in Hanoi. The metro project No. 3 (Nhon – Hanoi urban railway line) is being implemented well. The first train has arrived in Vietnam. I hope the project will be completed soon to serve the people.
Thai An-Hien Anh
NINH THUẬN – Farmers in the south – central and Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) regions are getting high prices from a bumper harvest of the winter – spring rice crop, partly due to use of certified seeds and preventive measures against disease.
The average yield in the two regions has been 6.6 tonnes per hectare, up 410kg against last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD). The selling price is VNĐ1,000 – 1,500 a kilogramme higher than last year.
Speaking at a recent seminar held in the south-central province of Ninh Thuận, Nguyễn Thị Tố Trân, deputy director of the Bình Định Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said farmers in Bình Định had harvested an average 7.1 tonnes per hectare, the highest yield so far.
About half of the 320,000ha of the winter – spring rice in the two regions has been harvested so far, according to MARD.
Lê Thanh Tùng, deputy head of MARD’s Plant Cultivation Department, said: “Farmers were told to sow the crop earlier than normal and arrange a suitable sowing schedule for each area.”
They have also used rice varieties with short – term maturity, which reduces the use of irrigation water.
To avoid water shortages at the end of the crop, drought – resistant crops were planted instead of rice. These included watermelon, soybeans, sweet potatoes and others, offering a profit of VNĐ50 – 130 million (US$2,160 – 5,600) per hectare a crop, three times higher than the profit from rice.
For the next summer – autumn rice crop, the two regions plan to grow a total 180,770ha, up 20,000ha against last year. The sowing time is between April and June.
The two regions plan to grow a total of 266,180ha of mùa rice, which is planted during the rainy season and in areas that grow only one rice crop a year.
MARD Deputy Minister Lê Quốc Doanh said that drought could occur during the summer – autumn rice and mùa rice season since the two regions are expected to have no rain from now to September. Crops should not be grown in areas which cannot secure irrigation water, he said.
The average water level of reservoirs in the south – central region has reached 74 per cent of their designed capacity, about 4 per cent higher than average, according to MARD’s Irrigation Department.
The water levels of reservoirs in the Tây Nguyên region are at 47 – 65 per cent of their designed capacity, higher than the levels in 2019 and 2020. – VNS
HCM CITY — The Mekong Connect, a centre for food and tourism products from the Mekong Delta provinces, officially opened on Phú Quốc Island on Wednesday.
The centre is located at the gateway to the “sleepless city” Grand World Phú Quốc in Kiên Giang Province. Its opening event marks a new milestone for the One Product One Commune (OCOP) programme.
Certified products from the 13 provinces in the Mekong Delta under the programme now have a source of output, authorities said.
Phạm Minh Thiện, chairman of the Board of Directors of Cỏ May Company, which operates The Mekong Connect centre, said the centre was created with the cooperation of localities in the Mekong Delta.
The centre consists of five departments specialising in market research and product development, negotiation and signing of commercial contracts, centralised logistics, and business consulting, among other tasks.
Direct sales to visitors and indirect sales via travel agencies and food booths are The Mekong Connect’s sales strategies.
Vice chairman of Đồng Tháp Provincial People’s Committee Phạm Thiện Nghĩa said that agricultural restructuring of the province in recent years has achieved many results.
Đồng Tháp Province now has 161 certified products under the OCOP programme. Via previous OCOP fairs, the province has been able to connect with trade centres to sell its products.
In 2020, Đồng Tháp pioneered opening a centre to organise direct trade of OCOP products in Hà Nội. The centre’s success has encouraged the province to build more regional linkages to bring OCOP products from the 13 Mekong Delta provinces closer to potential markets.
The centre for food and tourism products of Đồng Tháp and other Mekong Delta provinces has its first official office at Grand World Phú Quốc.
The centre is an ideal destination for domestic and international tourists when coming to Phú Quốc, opening up opportunities for strong market development of special products in the Mekong Delta. — VNS
For the time ahead, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) will keep a proactive and flexible monetary policy basing on market developments and forecasts for the macro-economy, SBV Deputy Governor Dao Minh Tu told a meeting on April 22.
A transaction office of BaoVietBank (Photo: VNA)
This monetary policy is meant to control this year’s inflation within the targeted ceiling of about 4 percent, support macroeconomic stabilisation, assist economic recovery, ensure liquidity, maintain the stability in the monetary and forex markets, and create conditions to reduce capital expenses for people, businesses, and the economy as a whole, the official said.
The SBV will maintain a close watch on domestic and foreign macro-economic and monetary changes, foreign exchange rate developments, as well as foreign currency demand and supply to set appropriate exchange rates, he noted, adding that it will uniformly carry out measures and policy tools to stabilise exchange rates and the forex market to help ensure macro-economic stability.
Besides, credit provision will be boosted, especially for priority fields to match economic restructuring and help fuel growth and stabilise the macro-economy.
Tu also stressed the need to tighten control over credit for high-risk areas like real estate, transport projects in build-operate-transfer (BOT) and build-transfer (BT) formats, and securities while at the same time taking synchronous solutions to tackle difficulties facing those hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters.
The central bank will order credit institutions to facilitate people and enterprises’ access to credit to help minimise loan-sharking, he said.
Pham Thanh Ha, Director of the SBV’s Monetary Policy Department, reported a credit growth rate of 3.34 percent as of April 16, compared to the end of 2020, pointing out that the credit growth has begun stagnating as credit has increased by just 0.41 percent in half a month though the rise was 0.76 percent in January, eased slightly to 0.66 percent in February due to the COVID-19 resurgence, and surged by 2.93 percent in March.
The SBV affirmed that since the year’s beginning, it has flexibly and synchronously used monetary policy tools to ensure liquidity for the banking system, stabilise the monetary market, and help reduce input cost for credit organisations, thereby easing the pressure on deposit and lending interest rates./.VNA
Lam Dong (VNA) – As a locality that leads the way in high-tech agriculture in Vietnam, the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong holds advantages in cooperating in this regard with different countries from around the world, including India, an online conference has heard.
The conference was jointly held in Lam Dong’s Da Lat city by the provincial People’s Committee and the Indian Consulate General in HCM City on April 22.
It was reported at the event that the province exported 110 million USD worth of goods to India last year, mainly coffee, silk yarn, and bauxite-aluminium.
Cooperation, however, has yet to match potential and the strengths of both sides, a provincial official said.
Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma said that more than half of agricultural exports from Lam Dong have gone to India and expressed a hope that the two sides will become strategic, comprehensive partners in agriculture.
On this occasion, Lam Dong introduced several major projects, including a tomato processing plant in Don Duong district and the Ka Do industrial complex, as well as incentives for domestic and foreign agricultural processing firms.
Indian partners asked questions regarding solutions to ease the impact of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production, saying they want to import Vietnamese products such as garlic, honey, and fruit.
Meanwhile, Lam Dong said it wants to buy silkworm eggs from India.
Madan Mohan Sethi, Indian Consul General in HCM City, pledged that Indian State management agencies, organisations, and businesses will stand side-by-side with Lam Dong in agricultural production and consumption and share their experience with the province./.