Food security and farmer interestsUpdate: 10/17/2013
(VOV) – Although Vietnam has ensured food security and exported large amounts of rice, its farmers feel hunger here and there.Type the text here
Food security is a big challenge to any countries when their populations keep rising and farmland shrinks dramatically for urbanisation and industrial production.
Statistics show the world has approximately 870 million hungry people, with 852 million living in developing countries, and tens of thousands of people die of hunger every year. The figures will increase considerably when the world’s population is forecast to reach 9 billion by 2050.
In Vietnam, one of the world’s top three rice exporters, many people living in the Northern, Central and Central Highland regions feel hunger during the lean months.
In the North-Western region, villagers can only afford rice for daily meals in three months at maximum and rely on other subsidiary crops such as cassava and corn in the remaining months of the year.
No doubt farmers play a vital role in ensuring national food security, but millions of Vietnamese farmers do not enjoy substantial profit from their hard work.
A survey recently conducted by the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) and Australia-based Oxfarm shows most rice growers are very poor, with monthly income per capita of approximately VND500,000 (roughly US$24).
Farmers are the hardest workers in the rice production chain vulnerable to crop diseases and natural disasters, as well as fluctuations in market prices. Ironically, they get the least profit.
Experts say Vietnam should pay more attention to long-term rice production policy and farmer benefit than to its position on the world rice production map. A higher position could force Vietnam to fall into a trap with high risks, while rice prices are decreasing, a popular rice brand has not been developed yet, and farmers live a hard life.
Farmers face hunger and poverty and they seem to go around in circles addressing the problems. It is not fair to farmers who are burdened with the task of feeding the society and maintaining national food security.
In a nutshell, a national food security policy needs to ensure 3.8 million hectares of arable land should be preserved for rice cultivation and more attention should be given to farmers, enabling them to live off agricultural production.