|Viet Nam still has high rate of malnutrition in children due to hunger and poverty. — VNA/VNS Photo
LAO CAI (VNS) — Viet Nam and leading world food organisations yesterday celebrated the 35th World Food Day with a vow to pair nutrition and food security in order to end malnutrition and stunted growth across the country.
The celebration was held in Lao Cai Province by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO).
World Food Day's theme this year is Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty. Viet Nam has made efforts to move toward its 2020 goal of forming a social protection system covering the entire population to ensure people have jobs, a minimum income and social insurance. It would also support people with difficulties, such as children with special needs, low-income households and those with disabilities to ensure access to basic social services, said MARD Deputy Minister Le Quoc Doanh.
FAO has made progress fighting global hunger and poverty in recent decades, and contributed to Viet Nam's achievement of a number of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ahead of schedule, according to a press release. Between 2009 and 2014, more than 1 million people escaped hunger and the country's poverty rate fell to 6 per cent.
Viet Nam will continue to focus its efforts on maintaining and enhancing the MDGs, while moving toward a more sustainable and comprehensive development model.
However, ensuring these achievements are obtained for all social groups, especially vulnerable groups, remains a major challenge.
"With most poor and hungry people still living in rural areas and dependent on agriculture, twinning social protection with agricultural development programmes makes compelling sense," said JongHa Bae, Viet Nam's FAO representative. "This is why FAO chose social protection and agriculture as the theme of World Food Day this year."
Bae said the organisation was committed to helping member countries achieve this target and determined to break the cycle of rural poverty by linking social protection to improvements in agricultural production, with a backstop for when things go wrong.
Social protection programmes on their own were not enough to move people out of poverty, food insecurity or malnutrition, as they did not address the structural causes of these problems, FAO said in a statement. — VNS