News

UN Praises Vietnam's Hunger Fighting Policies

Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2011 file photo).
Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2011 file photo).
Marianne Brown

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization is urging countries to follow Vietnam’s example in boosting agricultural production to combat food shortages that can lead to political instability.

Praise

The head of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, Jose Graziano da Silva, praised Vietnam’s agricultural policies for combating local hunger and increasing its exports in a region that has long battled chronic hunger.

"Vietnam is one of the few countries in the world that has been increasing exports and also assuring food security locally, and this is crucial for political stability and also for peace," he said.

The Asia Pacific is home to more than  60 percent of the world's people suffering from hunger and malnutrition. The FAO regional conference is focusing on finding sustainable ways to increase production in the face of rising food prices.

Food insecurity

Retail rice prices in Asia are 10 to 30 percent higher than at this time last year. Director da Silva warns the prices could fuel social unrest.

"We have seen in a lot of countries, but especially in Arab countries, in Africa, that there is a growing relationship between conflict and food insecurity," he said. "When people do not have food security assured by the government, when they don’t have reasonable price for their food basket, conflict emerges."

Deficit to surplus

Vietnam has grown from a country of food deficiency 30 years ago to the world’s second largest rice exporter after Thailand. Last year the country exported 7.2 million tons of rice.

The FAO’s Asia director, Hiroyuki Konuma, attributed the country’s success to investments in agricultural research, and urged other countries to take heed.

"Vietnam’s agriculture productivity growth has been very remarkable in the past decade," he said. "Rice productivity growth has been outstanding. This is one of the evidence on government policy that put an emphasis on agricultural production growth, particularly in the area of agricultural research."  
Konuma said the global population is expected to grow by another 1 billion people by 2050, which means there is very little potential to expand agricultural land, especially in Asia. That is why, he said, food production depends on increased yields.

Research is key

The FAO estimates that between now and 2050, 91 percent of the growth in food production will come from higher yields. He said research is the key, and his organization is working with other countries, including North Korea, to improve production.

"We have been putting a lot of effort in the DPRK, North Korea, we have just started a program. For example if North Korea can increase productivity by one ton per hectare, then it will actually solve food shortage," he said.

During the news conference, Konuma also said a new strain of bird flu affecting countries in the region is now under control. Recent deaths from H5N1 in Vietnam were caused by the old strain, which has a vaccine.

Graziano da Silva took over as FAO director-general in January. He said sustainable increases in agricultural production and a "fairer and more inclusive" global food system are needed if the world is to address global hunger.

The one-week conference is set to wrap up Friday.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Itachi
April 07, 2012 6:46 PM
Why don't you take into account that the Mekong Delta- the main rice production area of Vietnam, is gradually saturized by several dams constructed by China, Laos and Cambodia? What you are looking at is a result of high-nutrient soil and effective agriculture. But what about the future, Mr Konuma? Will we able to remain such remarkable state?

by: Adam Bray
March 20, 2012 11:06 PM
Vietnam has made improvements, but only where it adopts elements of Capitalism and pushes Marxism aside. Vast areas of the country lay barren and unproductive now, thanks to communist collective farming. Government mismanagement of agriculture continues to devastate large areas. The majority of Vietnam's farmers are desperately poor and do not own their own farms--they belong to the government. Vietnam is far from stable--it is at its most politically uncertain time in 20 years.

by: Oui
March 16, 2012 7:42 AM
So glad that my nation keeps progressing & thriving significantly.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs