Today, 10 December 2021, CGIAR, the global largest agriculture innovation network, convened a coordination meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (MARD). The meeting was chaired by Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh and Jean Balie, regional director of One CGIAR in Southeast Asia and the Pacific to review the relationship between MARD and CGIAR and discuss ways to further improve collaboration for sustainable agricultural development in Vietnam.
In the last five years, CGIAR has implemented more than 100 projects in Vietnam in 40 provinces, an investment of USD 24 million benefitting more than 24 million people. Research by CGIAR has brought about impacts in many fields of sustainable farming and livestock production, adapting agriculture to climate change, transforming food systems sustainably and improving human and animal health using a One Health approach.
Vietnam has achieved commendable growth, especially in agriculture development. In the 2016-2020 period, the sector’s total export turnover was at 190.32 billion USD. Notably, in 2020, despite being greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the export of agricultural, forestry and fishery products still reached a record number of USD 41 billion. Notably, in the first 11 months of 2021, the export of agricultural, forestry and fishery products reached nearly US$43.5 billion, up 14.2% over the same period of last year and is forecast to reach and exceed the whole year target. However, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh said that despite rapid growth, Vietnam still confronts numerous important challenges that may hinder it from the pathway to sustainable development. The agriculture sector relies on resource-intensive use, many production inputs dependent on the import market, low quality preservation and processing of agricultural products, high post-harvest losses, limited linkages along the value chains and unstable market price, degradation of natural resources and the environment and precarious livelihood of farmers. To enter a new phase of development with many difficulties and challenges, the Vice Minister said: ‘The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development highly appreciates and looks forward to continuing to receiving help and support from donors and international organizations, especially CGIAR.’
All these challenges raise the question of how Vietnam can develop more sustainably, making this Southeast Asian country a focus for CGIAR work.
CGIAR is a global strategic partnership to advance agricultural scientific research to address the issues of alleviating rural poverty, enhancing food security, improving nutrition and health, sustaining management of natural resources, and its works are carried out by 15 agricultural research centres globally. After 50 years of presence in Vietnam, up to now, eight centres under CGIAR have established offices or implemented projects in Vietnam.
This meeting came when CGIAR is gearing up the transformation to One CGIAR to respond to today’s global challenges, including optimizing its contribution to many Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the meantime, MARD is developing the Strategy for Sustainable Agricultural Development for the 2021-2030 period with a vision to 2050. This meeting thus, provided a unique opportunity to help bring those strands together and contribute to the development of a holistic and comprehensive approach in the follow up of MARD-CGIAR/One CGIAR partnership and collaboration, said Jean Balie, regional director of One CGIAR Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
This workshop provided a platform for MARD and CGIAR to comprehensively review the challenges and opportunities for our collaboration in the agriculture sector and identify actions and partnerships to respond accordingly.
At the meeting, One CGIAR leaders expressed their commitments to helping Vietnam address its strategically important agriculture issues to attain many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).