Vietnam’s Food Value Chain Public & Private Sectors Discuss State of Nation’s Safe, Nutritious F

Launch of ASEAN Safe, Nutritious Food PPP Initiative in Hanoi Yields Partnership Opportunities to Better Ensure Vietnam’s Supply of Safe & Nutritious Food

Hanoi, 26th June 2019 – CropLife Asia, EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) and US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) jointly conducted a workshop in Hanoi this week with national, regional and international food value chain stakeholders that signaled the second installment of the ASEAN Safe, Nutritious Food PPP Initiative. The three organizations have joined forces to form this new Alliance to lead a discussion around factors supporting a safe and nutritious supply of food in the region as well as help foster greater partnership between public and private sectors across the food value chain.

The Initiative’s second national workshop held in Hanoi brought more than 50 Vietnam Government officers and other national food chain stakeholders together with international and regional industry experts for a ‘farm-to-fork’ dialogue. The Initiative’s first national workshop was held in Bangkok on March 25 alongside the 2019 Responsible Business Forum on Food & Agriculture.

Above: Ambassador Michael Michalak from US-ASEAN Business Council gives welcome speech; PhD Le Viet Nga, Director General, Domestic Markets Department, Ministry of Industry and Trade gives opening address.

“This is a key strategic initiative by three of the more important international business associations covering the ASEAN region. Ensuring that what we eat is both safe and nutritious is key for the region. ASEAN is a region of undoubted potential, and part of that potential comes from its people. So, we need to work collaboratively together, with governments and a broad church of the private sector, to make sure the people of the region are eating food that is both good for them and safe to consume,” said Chris Humphrey, Executive Director of EU-ABC.

The workshop included a series of best-practice panels where ‘successes and setbacks’ in the various components that make up the food value chain in Vietnam were discussed. This was followed by an interactive session where public and private sector stakeholders highlighted areas within the safe and nutritious food supply chain where greater partnership would be beneficial. The specific workshop panels included:

  • Vietnam’s Farmers’ Ability to Grow Safe and Nutritious Food
  • Moving Safe, Nutritious Food in Vietnam and
  • Vietnam Consumer Awareness & Actions around Safe and Nutritious Food

“In ASEAN, the security of food and access to nutrition are still vulnerable to threats such as price or supply fluctuations and the growing impacts of climate change even with rising wages and expanding economies,” said Ambassador Michael Michalak, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director of the US-ASEAN Business Council. “There is an urgent need for stakeholder collaboration across the food value chain to address food safety concerns, which is increasingly important for Vietnam as it strives to elevate its agriculture sector into one of the top fifteen most developed in the world in a ten-year timeframe. The Council and its members are committed to working with the Vietnam government to achieve this ambitious vision, and ensure its citizens have a safe and nutritious food supply chain. In doing so, the Council is pleased to partner with our colleagues at the EU-ABC and CropLife Asia to make this session in Vietnam a success, especially as it focuses on such a critical theme where there remains great potential for ongoing collaboration.”

One strength of the workshop was the diversity of perspectives and learnings that were shared. Non-governmental participants included representatives from Bayer Crop Science, Cargill, Corteva Agriscience and Elanco Animal Health. Vietnam officials participating came from a wide spectrum of agencies such as Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Ministry of Industry & Trade, Ministry of Planning & Investment, Ministry of Health, Central Party Commission for Economic Affairs, Private Sector Development Committee, Vietnam Consumers Protection Association, Hanoi Department of Health, Hanoi Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Hanoi Center for Animal Control, Vietnam Medical Association, Vietnam Nutrition Institute, and Vietnam Institute of Applied Medicine.

Among the recommendations arising from discussion were: better education of both farmers and consumers in determining what constitutes safe and quality food; ensuring effective mechanisms and platforms are in place to spur collaboration on the various aspects of the topic; and creating an environment where shared trust and commitment can ensure sustainable partnerships that deliver results.

“There’s a storm brewing in Asia. The projected prevalence of undernourishment (PoU) in Asia is 11.4 percent, representing more than 515 million people. At the same time, we also have the fastest growing prevalence of childhood obesity in the world. This points to an urgent need to have safe and nutritious food available for consumers,” said Dr Sianghee Tan, Executive Director of CropLife Asia.

Dr Tan added, “The ASEAN Safe, Nutritious Food PPP Initiative in Vietnam is a perfect opportunity in getting the food value chain stakeholders and government together to have an open dialogue about food safety and nutrition here. We look forward to continuing this conversation in Vietnam and advancing the partnerships for effective shared solutions.”

The next national workshop planned by the Alliance is tentatively scheduled for Indonesia in Q4 2019.