The workshop opened with welcome messages from FAO, AsiaDHRRA and the Vietnam government, followed by a group photo and the introduction of the workshop participants.
Welcome Message by Mr. Nguyen Song Ha, Assistant FAO Representative (Programme), Officer-in-Charge, FAO Viet Nam
Mr. Ha emphasized the role that investments in agriculture play in the eradication of hunger and poverty and importance that these investments are “responsible.” Mr. Ha also reiterated the commitment of FAO to promote responsible agricultural investments through the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI) in the light of vast amount of investments coming into the Southeast Asian region. He also discussed the importance of empowering the youth to engage in agricultural activities to create livelihood opportunities, achieve food security and stimulate economic growth in the CLMV region. He mentioned that key challenges that need to be addressed include limited access to land and credit.
Welcome Message by Dr. Nguyen Xuan Hong, AsiaDHRRA Chairperson
Dr. Hong thanked FAO for giving AsiaDHRRA the opportunity to be part of the first discussion of CFS-RAI in the Southeast Asian region. He also expressed agreement with the call for an increase in investment in agriculture but also cautioned that these investments should result in the “3Ps” or triple bottom line -- that investments not only produce Profit but also benefit the People (the rural poor in particular) and protect the Planet. Dr. Hong also issued the challenge among the participants to address the need to get more young people engaged in agriculture and to have more “investments for the youth, and by the youth.”
Opening Remarks by Dr. Nguyen Nhu Cuong, Acting Director, Crop Production Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Dr. Cuong described the agriculture sector of Viet Nam as not yet significant in terms of share in GDP as it accounts for only around 15% of the country’s GDP. However, he noted that the impact of the agriculture sector to the country is “deep” as it employs almost 48% of the population and affects almost everybody. It is for this reason that the government of Viet Nam places significant attention and support to the agriculture sector. Dr. Cuong mentioned that Viet Nam has various policies on attracting direct foreign investments in agriculture, including a decree on bank credit for the agriculture sector. He also mentioned that the government has a program for sending technical experts to Japan for training on the latest agricultural techniques and technologies. He also expressed agreement with the importance of attracting the young college graduates to work in the agriculture sector. He mentions that the Minister for Agriculture has emphasized the need to expose students to agriculture enterprises. He also said that the government is targeting the establishment of 15,000 cooperatives by 2020.