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FOOD SECURITY: Action is what we need

VGP - Food security is both a goal and a means in Viet Nam's socioeconomic development strategy.

February 09, 2024 7:08 AM GMT+7

Ensuring national food security

Vietnamese agriculture-forestry-fishery sector has a blossom year amid economic downturns, forming 11.96 percent of GDP structure[1]. The sector has witnessed a bold shift to a more proactive and innovative one to overcome difficulties as commented by Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

The facts say it all as exports in agriculture grew at an impressive 17 percent despite the global decrease in demand, with exports of six products exceeding US$3 billion each. Among the six products, rice export volume and prices hit an all-time high of 8.3 million tons, equivalent to US$4.78 billion[2], meanwhile, the total rice output in the top-3-worldwide-rice-exporting country increased 1.9 percent to 43.5 million tons, meeting both domestic demand and export.

Considering national food security has always been an essential and urgent issue since food supply and access are greatly affected by a wide range of factors, from climate change, natural disasters, environmental pollution to cross-border epidemics, the Government of Viet Nam has issued the National Action Plan for Transforming a Transparent, Responsible and Sustainable Food System by 2030 to overcome the shortcomings and limitations of the agricultural sector, and at the same time create synergy and minimize the trade-off between economic development and the environment and public health.

Viet Nam also successfully hosted the 4th Global Conference of the One Planet Network's Sustainable Food System Program (SFS Program) where it proposed 5 solutions to promote food system transformation toward transparency, responsibility and sustainability, a step further in translating its commitments into actions as the Southeast Asian country looking forward to being a food innovation hub of Asia.

New strategy which translating commitment into action

Viet Nam is committed to transforming the food system towards transparency, responsibility, and sustainability. The Government of Viet Nam is clearly aware of the need for close cooperation between countries and actors in the food and food system to create sweeping changes in the entire system.

As evidence for efforts to come closer to the final goal, a National Action Plan on Food Systems Transformation in Viet Nam towards Transparency, Responsibility, and Sustainability by 2030[3] was approved by its Government through the Decision 300/QD-TTg dated March 28, 2023. Accordingly, the transformation must be associated with the advancement of agroecology, the integration of multiple values, increased competitiveness, increased resilience to shocks, improved product reputation, and brand building. Furthermore, the transformation aims to increase income for producers as well as ensure food safety for consumers.

This Action Plan helps realizing the Strategy for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development toward 2030 with vision to 2050, aiming to restructure the agriculture sector, develop rural economy linking with new-style rural development. The strategy is designed around three pillars: "agroecology[4]", "modern rural areas", and "smart farmers". With new thinking, Viet Nam can aspire to become a country of agroecology and low-carbon agriculture instead of just a food production powerhouse.

Toward a food innovation hub

Viet Nam is moving toward climate change adaptation, natural resources preservation, ecosystems and biodiversity protection, generating sustainable livelihoods, and ensuring social security, especially for vulnerable groups. To effectively implement its long-term and ambitious plan, Viet Nam looking forward to strengthen cooperation with foreign partners, including the establishment of a "Food System Transformation Partnership". This kind of partnership, if approved, will organize technical working groups to collaborate with Ministries, sectors, specialized agencies, and localities to mobilize technical and financial support from partners.

Action is what we needs. And now, more than ever, is a time to come together for practical solutions, for a brighter future where food security will be ensured and the environment is protected, for Trees, for People, and for the Planet./.

[1] Infographic social-economic situation 4th quarter and 2023 – General Statistics Office of Vietnam (gso.gov.vn)

[2] Exports and imports value by months of 2023 – General Statistics Office of Vietnam (gso.gov.vn)

[3] decision-300-nap-fst-vietnam-eng_12-07-2023.pdf (unfoodsystemshub.org)

[4] Agroecology | CIFOR-ICRAF