Challenges and opportunities in developing nutrition-sensitive agri-food systems discussed at workshop in Vietnam
A consultation workshop on nutrition-sensitive agri-food systems was held in Can Tho, Vietnam on December 8, 2023, co-organized by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and the Alliance of Bioversity International and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (The Alliance). The workshop aimed to share preliminary results on data related to food consumption, literature, and policy reviews in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, and to gather feedback and input from stakeholders.
The workshop was attended by more than 30 participants representing various universities, organizations, and government agencies. It provided a platform for food system actors to share information on current initiatives and networks linked to nutrition-sensitive agri-food systems in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam.
The objectives of the workshop included sharing preliminary results on food consumption and nutrition status in the Mekong Delta region, presenting and validating the results of a literature and policy review, and gathering feedback on intervention priorities of nutrition-sensitive food systems in the region.
The workshop was formally opened by Associate Professor Truong Tuyet Mai, Deputy Director of NIN, who emphasized the importance of improving knowledge and strengthening capacity for local authorities on nutrition-sensitive agri-food systems. Presentations were given by representatives from NIN, The Alliance, and other partners, covering topics such as the current situation and cross-sectoral solutions for improving nutrition for Vietnamese people, the dynamics of food consumption and nutritional status in the Mekong Delta region, and the opportunities and challenges in the development of nutrition-sensitive agri-food systems in the region.
During the plenary group discussion, participants shared their experiences, feedback, and input on the content and implementation of relevant interventions on nutrition-sensitive food systems. Challenges in implementing integrated nutrition and agricultural production activities at the local level were discussed, including limited skilled human resources in nutrition, a shortage of research on the food environment around schools in the region, and high investment required for agricultural production following safety standards.
In conclusion, the workshop was a successful and productive event that contributed to the process of finalizing the policies and literature review on nutrition-sensitive food systems in the Mekong Delta Region of Vietnam. The workshop emphasized the need to integrate nutrition-sensitive approaches into policy and practice and to involve multisectoral actors in food system transformation to address challenges related to nutrition-sensitive agri-food systems in the region. The workshop was an important milestone for the AMD Initiative, which aims to support the food and nutrition security and resilience of the Asian Mega-Deltas.