Chapter 4: Food security in Vietnam
Vietnam has been the second or third leading rice exporting country, food security is still an issue that need to be considered, not only at national level but also household and individual levels. At the national level, Vietnam has been trying to develop its agriculture to meet the objective of food security since food security is recognized as an important issue in terms of economics, politics and society as a whole (Ngai, 2010, p.1). The government always confirms that “food security must be part of social –economic development general strategy” in order to eliminate hunger, reduce poverty level, create job opportunities with higher income for residents in rural areas (Vietnamese Government, 2009, p.1) Achieved food security is one of the most important conditions for stabilized politics and enhancing social welfare, especially for poor residents. However, food security policies (rice land policy and rice export restrictions) implemented in Vietnam also negatively impacts on agricultural development and the economy as a whole. 4.1.1. Food security achievement
Vietnam has 33 million ha of land, of which rice occupies about 4 million ha. Rice is the main food of the Vietnamese people providing 80% of the carbohydrates and 40% of the protein intake in the diet (Thang, 2014). Along with the economic reform and high economic growth, rice production has increased rapidly. The table 4.1 shows that total rice cultivated acreage has increased steadily (from 6.04 million ha in 1990 to 7.8 million ha in 2013) and the total output in ten year 2003 -2013 has increased by 27.92% with over 6.57 million tons. Therefore, rice production not only provides enough for domestic demand but also surpluses for export. Rice export reached its peak in 2011 with nearly 7.71 million tons. Since 1989, Vietnam has firmly obtained its food security at the national level. Export growth has been achieved without compromising food security. In fact, net availability of rice per person had increased 30.28% in ten year period of 1990 -2000, increased from 109kg/person to 142kg/person (Kien, 2013, p.4). In terms of food accessibility, income growth has contributed remarkably to the improvement of food accessibility which supports the country to reduce poverty rate in general. Since 2000, there have been significant improvements in food consumption patterns with decreasing ratio of rice and tubers consumption and dramatic increase in consumption of meat products, fruits, eggs and milk. Moreover, the proportion of undernourished population is much lower than other regional countries reflecting a big achievement in the area of nutrition (Thang, 2014).
In household level, the food security is not ensured with 8.7% of households in the rural area do not have enough rice, except some minorities has traditionally used maize and cassava as major foods. There is a significant portion of the population has still been suffered food-unsecured. They are poor farmers, disadvantaged and ethnic minority groups and people living in remote areas often affected by natural disasters. The shortage of food is caused by the difference in farming conditions and the poor regulation of food between regions in the country (Anh, 2010, p.2). Meanwhile, in recent years the role of rice in food security has decreased. Rice consumption per head reduced from 142kg/person/year in 2000 to 134 kg/person/year in 2010. As a result, rice contributed to calorie consumption has decreased from 75% in the period 1975-1985 to 55% at present (Kien, 2013, p.10). The decline in per-capita rice consumption is consistent with other countries in Asia. As the economy develops, consumers have greater means and access to other foods, with per-capita consumption of rice tending to decline as income increases. In fact shows that much rice has not longer brought better food security, the malnutrition has already occurred in the areas where rice is produced. 4.1.2....
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