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VietNamNews

Food security a priority, says PM

Update: March, 16/2012 - 10:00

 

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and FAO 31st conference's participants visit a kiosk of Vietnamese agricultural product. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HA NOI — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has urged a regional food and agricultural conference to come up with more aggressive solutions to food security and poverty reduction, especially in rural areas.

Dung made the request in his address at yesterday's opening ceremony of the 31st Food and Agriculture (FAO) Asia Pacific Regional Conference in Ha Noi with the participation of agriculture ministers and officials from 40 countries, adding that he appreciated its goal to contribute to global poverty reduction.

"Viet Nam's policy is to use its domestic resources effectively and strengthen international integration and co-operation to make a more favourable environment to attract more external resources for development," he said.

The country acknowledged the challenges and was actively strengthening research and the application of technology in production, reducing production and post-harvest losses and re-organising production to link with the processing industry and product marketing, Dung said.

Besides, Viet Nam focused on implementing national target programmes on rural re-development and sustainable poverty reduction and promoting State investment and introducing stronger incentives to attract domestic and foreign businesses to invest in agriculture, he said.

United Nations FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said the region was home to 62 per cent of the world's 925 million undernourished people, with some countries coming close to the limits for agricultural expansion and high food prices and volatility.

Da Silva suggested maintaining the five current regional priorities of strengthening food and nutritional security, fostering agricultural production and enhancing equitable, productive and sustainable natural resource management and utilisation.

They were also improving capacity to respond to food and agricultural threats and coping with the impact of climate change on agriculture and food and nutritional security, he said.

Participants' requests

Based on three-day discussions held prior to the conference, participants requested the organisation to assist member countries in promoting partnerships among research institutions and other key stakeholders and strengthening agricultural market information systems.

Participants also suggested the organisation help member countries improve water management and agricultural productivity and enhance dry land, develop an ecosystem approach framework for fishery and aquaculture activities and mitigate climate change through the creation of improved early warning systems.

Da Silva said it was necessary for the countries to adopt a new approach called Save and Grow which promotes crop and agricultural diversity, conservation of essential natural resources, sustainable strategies for pest control, reducing food loss and waste, disseminating knowledge and empowerment of small-scale producers.

"Disaster risk management, and identifying and responding to specific needs of countries and regions are an important part of this new approach."

Boosting co-operation

On the same day, Dung received FAO head da Silva.

The PM highly valued the fact that FAO considered Viet Nam as an important partner in its co-operative relations in the field of agriculture with its 400 funded projects for the country. He said the organisation was the country's strategic partner, giving technical support to its agricultural development, and highlighted that the country kept supporting the organisation's South-South Co-operation Programme in which it has allocated agricultural experts and technicians to other developing countries to help them organise and improve activities in the fields of agriculture, forestry and aqua-culture.

Dung expressed his hope that FAO would keep giving assistance to the country's efforts to enhance food security, poverty reduction and hunger eradication, climate change mitigation and environment protection.

Da Silva said Viet Nam was a successful case in agriculture and rural development, hunger eradication and food security.

He said the conference served as a chance for other countries to learn fromViet Nam's experiences in this field.

Relations improve

In the past years, relations between Viet Nam and the Republic of Korea (RoK) have improved significantly in the spirit of strategic partnership, bringing practical benefits for both countries.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung made this statement yesterday while receiving South Korean Minister for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Suh Kyo Yong, who is participating in the 31st FAO Conference for the Asia-Pacific in Ha Noi.

Dung spoke highly of the strong co-operation between the Korean food ministry and the Viet Nam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

He said he hoped South Korea would continue supporting Viet Nam in agriculture, forestry and fisheries through establishing training centres, sharing experiences, and transferring technologies, as well as promoting the study and production of bird-flu vaccine.

Suh Kyo Yong said South Korea would exert more efforts in launching co-operative activities suggested by Dung.

He hoped Viet Nam would create more favourable conditions for Korean enterprises to invest in the country, particularly in agroforestry and fish processing.

He committed the RoK to expanding access to its markets, bringing more opportunities for Viet Nam's agroforestry and aquatic products, and suggested both countries simplify official procedures relating to import-export activities, creating an easy path for such products to enter each market. — VNS

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