Abstract: Bo


Feeding The 9 Billion, Well

26-28 August 2014



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Agriculture Restructuring: towards higher competitiveness and food security

Dr Nguyen Van Bo
President, Vietnamese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and
member of the ACIAR Policy Advisory Council

Ensuring food security is not merely an economic or humanitarian activity. It also actively contributes to national as well as global socio-political stability. During the last 25 years of implementing its Renovation Policy, Vietnam has achieved national food security, actively contributing to the goals of eliminating hunger, alleviating poverty, and ensuring regional and global food security. Vietnam is changing from a net food importer to an exporter of many agricultural commodities.

However, Vietnam is an agriculture based economy with more than 70 per cent of its population engaged in agriculture. A very high proportion of many of the commodities it produces are exported: 25 per cent of its rice production, 90 per cent of coffee, rubber, cashew nut and cassava, and 95 per cent of black pepper. So, any fluctuation on the international market has an adverse impact on its agricultural industry.
More difficulties and challenges will face the country in the years to come: rapid population growth; decreasing farm areas and water resources; more frequent natural disasters, floods, droughts; decreasing levels of investment in agricultural production; barriers to agricultural international trade; low incomes of the poor, reducing their access to food; and food demand increasing for other purposes, including the production of bio-energy. Climate change is an added challenge.

Vietnam agriculture restructuring policy aims at higher competitiveness and ensuring food security in the context of climate change. Efforts are focused on policies to stabilize the area of land devoted to rice cultivation; increasing investment in water management infrastructure; and promotion of mechanization in rice production and processing. It will apply scientific and technological advances to varietal improvement; natural resource management, pest and disease control, and post-harvest technologies. It will also re-organize the institutional set up for agricultural production, linking production with processing and marketing. This will raise the income of rice growers, modernize rural life and enhance farmer’s livelihoods. At the same time, it will actively seek to mitigate the impacts of climate change, especially of rising sea levels. Together with sound policies to guarantee its national food security, Vietnam is ready to cooperate with its neighbours, share its experiences in agricultural development with the international community; and actively contribute to ensuring food security globally.

Halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger by 2015 is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals agreed to by many nations more than a decade ago. With many difficulties and challenges still facing food security, achieving this goal will require the effort of every nation, and especially active support from developed countries and international organizations. This demands coordinated action at regional levels as well as on a global scale.