A Review of Food Security and the Role of Animal Production in Vietnam

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1 International Symposium Sustaining Food Security and Managing Natural Resources in Southeast Asia - Challenges for the 21st Century - January 8-11, 2002 at Chiang Mai, Thailand A Review of Food Security and the Role of Animal Production in Vietnam Le Viet Ly Animal Institute of Animal Husbandry, Hanoi, Vietnam 1 Introduction: Vietnam is a small country with large population, which is situated in South East Asia. The economy mainly based on agriculture in which rice is considered as main product. After the economic renovation (1986) due to the hard effort of farmers and the impact of the new policies, Vietnam has made a big jump in agriculture especially in rice production. From 1989 the rice production can not only produce enough food for domestic consumption but also provide a big surplus for exportation. Vietnam is the second largest rice exporter in the world market. Although for more than 10 years, we continuously export rice to international market but the food security is not yet stable. There is still some groups of people who are deficit of food (hunger) and the poor are still occupied 16% of population. Due to natural calamities (storm, flood etc.) happened every year, there is around one million people suffering from hunger (non-continuous). There are several groups of poor people can be considered as target groups: People in natural calamities frequented areas Ethnic group in high land, especially these with nomadic life Invalid and vulnerable people 2 The Economic Situation and Food Security in Vietnam: 2.1 Current Status Vietnam has made good progress in reducing hunger since the 1996 World Food Summit. According to Government data, the percentage of the population below the minimum level of dietary intake decreased from 25% to 15% between and Child malnutrition is still high, but has fallen significantly over the last few years. An estimated 34% of children aged under five were underweight in 2000,

2 2 A Review of Food Security & the Role of Animal Production in Vietnam compared with 45% in Mortality rates for children have also sharply improved. Infant mortality declined from 42 to 37 per thousand births during the 1900s. Vietnam is well on target towards meeting the World Food Summit goals, but food insecurity continues to be a problem for vulnerable groups in the population. People in rural areas have high rates of malnutrition. Infant mortality in rural areas is more than double that in urban areas. 2.2 Economic Conditions The economic reform and development has continued over the last five years. From 1996 to 2000 the economy grew at an average rate of 6,4% per year, although it was affected by the regional crisis in The real per capita GDP in 2000 was 20% higher than in Vietnamese people have experienced considerable improvement in their living standards, which has contributed substantially to poverty alleviation and hunger eradication. However, Vietnam remains a poor country. Its per capita GDP in 2000 was only 5.7 million Dongs less than 400 USD. 2.3 Food Availability Vietnam has made remarkable progress in agriculture and has become self-sufficient in food and is now a major rice exporter. With the growth of the economy, the Vietnamese are possessed of more varied diet. Between 1996 and 2000, the area of vegetable crops and fruit trees increased considerably-by 18% and41% respectively. Meat production increased by 36% between 1996 and Fish production has also increased from 1.7 million tons in 1996 to 2.1 million tons in Social Change The social change affected positively on the food security. The population growth rate decreased from 1.6% in 1996 to 1.4% in Total fertility rates have declined - from 3.8 children per woman in 1989 to 2.3 children in Better access to education is also making a positive contribution to food security. People s living conditions have also increased in recent years. In 1988, 77% of the rural population has access to electricity, up from 48% five years earlier. 90% of communes have a Public Health Centre Between 1993 and 1998 the proportion of

3 Le Viet Ly 3 people with access to clean water increased from 60% to 75% (urban areas) and 17% to 29% (rural areas). 3 Program of Action: There is a national short-term program to put an end to food hunger from now to the year Vietnam is determined to eradicate food hunger in The Basic Direction of Food Security Development in Vietnam: : To increase the food production emphasized on increasing the productivity and also the quality of the product to get higher economic efficiency. The following measures will be emphasized: Increasing the effectiveness of irrigation system. In 2005 the irrigation capacity will meet the demand of 6.5 million ha of paddy area and 1.5 million ha of area of vegetation and industrial crops. Construction of small scale irrigation systems and clean water supply. Providing good and high-product seeds for cereal development (mainly paddy and maize ) Applying insurance policy for agriculture to assist farmers in food- stuff development. Putting more investment to the cereal development in the mountainous areas, to make food available at the local areas. The main measures will be concentrated to development the small scale of irrigation system and other appropriate farming techniques. To develop processing industry at the rural areas, emphasized to the processing of rubber, coffee, tea, cashew nut, silk goods, sugarcane and a part of vegetable and fruit and meat. To improve the rural infrastructure such as transportation, electricity, communication etc. Develop inter-communes (hamlets) roads, countryside markets. Applying incentive policies in credit, tax and also in using scientific workers in the countryside. Diversifying the agricultural production, service system to improve the income of the poor in the countryside. Develop vocational extension, job generated (nonfarm activities)

4 4 A Review of Food Security & the Role of Animal Production in Vietnam Making integration between different projects on poverty alleviation. To put more attention to the nutrition of children and women in rural areas. Promote food hygiene and safety. To develop food market as mobilizing the participation of different economic sectors (national, cooperative, private). To increase the efficiency of food exportation and develop the food supplied network in the poor, the remote areas. The Government will keep in hand a sufficient food store to interfere in emergency. Promote family planning. Develop elementary and secondary education. 4 The Contribution of Animal Production in Food Security 4.1 Characteristics of Agricultural Farming System in Vietnam Vietnam covers a land area of 33.6 million ha and the number of habitant amounted to 78 million. About two thirds of the territory is covered by steep hill and mountains. Over two million people in more than 50 ethnic minority groups are living in the mountain and mid-hill, still practicing shifting cultivation. The high population growth rate requires the expanding of the arable area. The erosion and livelihood problem are probably unavoidable, if alternative income sources are not found and the population pressure on land is not reduced. Livestock occupies 19% of agricultural output. In this sector the production is almost wholly in the land of smallholders. Livestock enterprises are very small and comprise pigs, cattle, buffaloes, goats, chicken and ducks etc. Vietnam s traditional farming base is an integrated system of rice and other crops, livestock and poultry, aquaculture. V.A.C (garden-fish pond-animal cage) is a well-known name in our integrated farming system. It means that to get the most benefit we have to combine our efforts in the development of crops, fish and animal production. In the mountainous areas, where the forestry is rather developed the formula V.A.C. will expand into V.A.C.R. (R is forestry). This close integration will be seen obviously as the animal provide draught power, manure for crop production and in contrary the crop production provides them with some crop products especially crop by-product - these could not be used directly by men. Due to the indigenous animals can eat a rather big volume of forage and crop by-product, it will stimulate the development of vegetable and green fodder to restore soil fertility. It is emphasises that

5 Le Viet Ly 5 a huge volume of organic manure (from animal dung and excreta) contributed to the high yield of crop production, it keeps the soil fertility and prevent its erosion and without it the intensive farming system could not be applied. Another characteristics of the traditional farming system in Vietnam is low input and low productivity. The farmers used to raise the indigenous breeds and feed them by local available feed resources. In this feeding system the productivity is low but the profit is sustainable for the poor farmers even in unstable market. 5 The Advantages of Animal Production In Vietnam the GDP from livestock sector occupies only 19% of the agriculture s GDP. But the importance of animal production is much greater in the aspect of farming system. Animal production provide draft power and manure to crop production. It is difficult to run with intensive farming without organic fertiliser. The profit come from livestock production is very important for household economy. The poor farmers are always in deficit of cash money. All the expenses for food, housing, education, wedding, funeral etc. mainly come from selling the animal product due to the price of crops usually are very low. Livestock production is important sector for job generating in rural areas. Its advantages can be seen as: Low input (except large ruminants) using indigenous breeds, simple housing. Better use of household s labour (including children and elderly). Effective use of local available feed resources. Simple management and easy to learn. Efficient nutrient recycling. Promoting natural conservation. 6 Farmers Adoption on Animal Species A Poultry Raising The advantage of poultry raising is low input (capital), quick return, good market. The tendency in recent years showed that the scavenging chicken always be sold at high price to compare with broiler (industrial feeding).

6 6 A Review of Food Security & the Role of Animal Production in Vietnam B Pig Raising Almost all the farmers manage with pig production even the poorest, due to pig manure is essential for crop (rice) production. Otherwise local pig breeds can consume a big volume of vegetable and by-product (rice bran, dietary residues) for that it s easy to earn profit from this sector. C Cattle and Buffalo Rearing Every farmer family used to make big effort to have one or two cattle or buffaloes to be self-sufficient of draft power and having small calf each year. In mountainous area, of the Northern part of the country buffalo rearing always occupies advantage due to easy for grazing and fitted to the eco-condition. D Other Species (Goat, Sheep, Deer) It depends mainly on local feed resources available and habit of husbandry. Obviously that the animal production can contribute to food security as supporting crop production, producing high price animal products, generating more jobs in rural areas. It also can be seen as a source of saving. In case of crop failures due to drought or flood, the stock can be sold in order to obtain sufficient cash income to purchase food and all kind of products necessary for year-round family consumption. For the above reasons, animal production always occupies an important role in our farming system and in the life of million householders in rural areas. Livestock production development is an efficient measure in poverty alleviation. References Towards National Food Security. Government of Vietnam- Country Paper, October 1996 The State of Food Insecurity in the World FAO Rome, 2000 The Real Situation of Food Security in Vietnam. Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, October 2001

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