How to contribute to ensuring the world’s food security , Vietnam Experience

(VOV) – One virtue of the plan is that Vietnam is considering appropriate policies and measures to ensure both its own food security and food exports in a sustainable manner.

After more than 20 years, Vietnam has become one of the biggest rice exporters second only to Thailand. Up to now it has exported 75 million tonnes of rice, earning as much as US$23 billion.

In 2010 alone, Vietnam exported nearly 7 million tonnes of rice, accounting for 20 percent of the world’s total rice exports.

The country has also made a positive contribution to ensuring the world’s food security by sending its experts to other countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, to share experiences.

Opportunities and challenges

The increasing prices of goods, especially food, in the world market have opened up new opportunities for Vietnam’s exports but also imposed great challenges for the country as it has to spend a lot importing materials and equipment for agricultural production.

For this reason, Vietnam is doing all it can to ensure its food security and food exports in the long run.

UN expert Koos Neefjes says Vietnam is one of the five countries most affected by climate change.

A one-meter rise in sea levels, he argues, would submerge 5,000 sq. meters of land in the Red River Delta region and 15,000-20,000 sq. meters in the Mekong Delta region, leading to a decrease of 5 million tonnes of food.

In the face of tough competition from newly-emerging rice exporters in the region such as Myanmar and Cambodia and the opening of the rice market from January 2011, Vietnam’s opening a free rice market for foreign businesses operating in the country as from January 2011 under WTO commitments is putting Vietnam’s rice exports in limbo.

The Department of Crop Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development also warns the shrinking acreage of farmland, low quality breeding, and improper use of fertilizers, which all affecting the productivity, quality, and prices of Vietnamese food.

Necessary measures

Like many other countries in the world, Vietnam is also facing the threat of food insecurity caused by climate change, population growth, reduction in cultivated areas, and the impact of political crisis in the Middle East and Northern Africa.

In order to improve the quality of its rice exports and ensure its own food security, Vietnam should focus on implementing effective policies and measures to prevent land grabs, encourage all economic sectors to invest in agriculture, promote the application of advanced technology in agriculture; stabilise food prices to ensure a profit for farmers; raise food reserve levels in the whole country, improve the capacity for export businesses; and provide precise food market forecasts.

In so doing, Vietnam will gradually achieve the goal of ensuring its own food security as well as its food exports in a sustainable manner.

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