NDO/VNA – The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on October 20 signed a US$ 75 million loan
According to a study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), small and medium-sized enterprises account for many businesses in Vietnam (nearly 96% of the total number of companies). Over the past 25 years, these businesses have made substantial progress and made significant contributions to food security, the social stability of the country, and poverty reduction.
In particular, small and medium enterprises in the food industry play an essential role in providing a healthy diet. Small and medium-sized businesses can contribute to increasing consumer access to nutritious, healthy foods while creating jobs and income opportunities. Thanks to small and medium enterprises, the food industry also had many successes and achieved positive results in the export and domestic market.
However, some improvements are needed to support small and medium-sized businesses currently facing barriers to sustainably providing healthy food. These barriers can be related to finance, infrastructure, and policy challenges.
Over the past five years, with the support of the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, FAO has implemented the project "Strengthening capacities for nutrition-sensitive food systems through a multi-stakeholder approach" in Ghana, Kenya, and Vietnam, to enhance the capacity of food and small and medium enterprises in the application of the nutritionally sensitive approached in its business.
On March 31, in Hanoi, FAO and its partners organized a National Workshop on “Capacity building to improve nutrition through the food system for training institutions, social organizations and private sector” to capture the progress of the Project and mobilize more local stakeholders.
At the conference, Mr. Curi Nono Womdim, FAO Representative in Vietnam, assessed the results of the Project, which will draw essential lessons and experiences, contributing to promoting the implementation of the national program framework for the 2022-2026 period. FAO plays a significant role in food safety, sustainable production and consumption, and response to climate change.
“After five years of implementation, the Project has achieved remarkable results. In particular, training materials on improving nutrition in the food system have been effective”, said Dr. Dao The Anh, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences, at the conference.
Over the past 30 years, Vietnam has made remarkable achievements in the field of agriculture, such as ensuring national food security; exporting many agricultural products to the world market, contributing to world food security; rice exporter ranks 3rd in the world; ranked 2nd in the world in terms of coffee exports.
According to Mr. Dao The Anh, in ensuring food security, Vietnam still faces some difficulties, such as the high rate of malnutrition among children in remote rural areas, mountainous areas, and ethnic minorities; or the problem of childhood obesity in urban areas in the context of a rapidly increasing urbanization rate in recent years.
Solving the nutritional problem of Vietnam requires cross-sectoral coordination and a holistic approach, participation, and cooperation from actors in the value chain of agricultural products and food, such as households, cooperatives, production enterprises, processing enterprises, and consumer and consumer organizations.
"Building a nutrition-oriented food system is an appropriate approach for Vietnam in the current period and in the coming period to ensure the food system's sustainability in the future, ensuring the security of the food system and nutrition security. Small and medium enterprises need to change their production and business thinking and management in the food system", said Dr. Dao The Anh shared.
Besides, Mr. Dao The Anh emphasized the critical role of small and medium enterprises and cooperatives in improving the sustainability of the food and nutrition system in the coming period.
"Previously, businesses only focused on providing food for the urban market and were 'vacant' the rural market, remote and poor areas. While in the past time, the rural market has had strong growth in food processing. With the support of new technologies and innovations, SMEs can target rural markets. This may be a new direction in the business of these enterprises in the coming time", analyzed Deputy Director of the Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
The Project "Strengthening capacities for nutrition-sensitive food systems through a multi-stakeholder approach" aims to strengthen capacities and skills to ensure healthy nutrition, sustainable food systems, and improved nutrition practices for the global public and private sectors, particularly in Ghana, Kenya, and Vietnam.
Accordingly, training institutions and small and medium enterprises operating in or related to food systems will gain the capacity to promote and implement nutrition approaches through food systems.
Authors: Thuy Duyen - Thao Van
Translated by: Ha Phuc