Vietnam – Regional Conference on Food Security, Let’s get to work

The regional conference “LET’S GET TO WORK – Building a food secure future” held on March 22-23, 2017 in Hanoi, Vietnam focused on Sustainable Development Goal 2: aiming to reduce food waste and food losses to implement new solutions for the relevant SDGs. The Conference brought together a broad range of government ministers and other high-level delegates from government and experts of international organizations, NGOs, knowledge institutes and the private sector. Welcoming speeches were addressed by the Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Mr. Le Quoc Doanh and the Vice-Minister of Agriculture of the Netherlands, Mrs. Marjolijn Sonnema.

Outcome: 55 Deals

The Conference was built around a two-day experts’ segment and a high-level round table discussion providing specific fields for further action based on the current challenges and constraints, as well as good practices. The Conference also set a first step of action with a set of concrete Food Security Deals. In total 55 Deals were closed. These Deals are concrete, cross-sectoral deals made by different configurations of stakeholders which committed themselves to action in new solutions to contribute to achieving SDG2.

Four themes

SDG2 doesn’t stand independently, but is interconnected with all other SDGs. Therefore, the Conference focused on the following four themes:

  • Climate Smart Agriculture; SDG13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts;
  • Reducing Food Losses; SDG12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns;
  • Food Safety; SDG2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture;
  • Sustainable Aquaculture; SDG14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

The Conference has put forward different partnerships with many Food Security Deals, of which seven concrete and fully completed after the first day. One of the is concerned with the establishment of a Regional Post Harvest Network in Vietnam. Not only serving Vietnam, but also the demands from companies and governments within the Asian region.

Eelke Westra, (Wageningen University & Research) moderated a Working Session on Food Losses on day 1 of the Conference. During this session regional challenges and constraints, awareness raising and networking and a case on wholesale markets in Myanmar were discussed. Also, several Deals on the topic of reducing food losses were pitched and participants found.

On Day 2 Eelke Westra took part in the High-Level Round Table meeting, chaired by the Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Mr. Le Quoc Doanh and Mr. Michiel van Erkel, Director International Agribusiness at the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Françoise van den Broek, Postharvest Network, delivered a key note speech at the seminar on Post Harvest Losses. This seminar was also attended by several Dutch Agricultural Councilors active in the region and the Dutch agro mission to Vietnam led by Mrs. Marjolijn Sonnema. The set-up of a Regional Post-Harvest Network was pitched and received additional participants. Also, two pilot projects were pitched and received funding: ‘Potato storage for realizing a longer period of domestic potato availability’ and ‘Improving chain quality of dragon fruit’.

Some of the key action areas were defined with respect to food losses:

  • Being aware and creating ownership of food losses caused by different actors in the value chain is the starting point for improvements;
  • Technology and knowledge transfer, together with ICT solutions and entrepreneurial skill development are important to the reduction of food losses and waste;
  • Creating and forecasting demand helps suppliers towards efficient supply along the food chain;
  • Joining a collective or cooperative initiative and creating scale makes investments in the food value chain more attractive for farmers to make profit;
  • The region needs a food secure alliance to make food production more efficient and the use of land and resources less demanding for our climate.

The Conference was closed by a Plenary Ceremony, presenting the Deals and the Regional Steps forward.

The way forward

The outcomes of the Conference show concrete key actions, good practices for follow-up and a set of concrete Food Security Deals that facilitate regional processes. As a next step the outcomes of this Conference facilitate the continued dialogue on Food Security in the Asian Region, by bringing this into the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Response to Climate Change, in Can Tho, Vietnam, 21-25 August 2017.

If you would like to hear more about the Deals on Food Losses, the two pilot projects or, if you want to actively participate in the Regional Post Harvest Network, please do not hesitate to contact us! The coming months we will work out a detailed plan for the Network and we will look for local representation of the Network in Vietnam, as this is crucial for its success.

All presentations of the conference can be found here.