Food systems transformation in Viet Nam: Interview with SHiFT leadership and partners

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Viet Nam recently hosted the 4th Global Conference of the Sustainable Food Systems Programme, which brought together more than 200 participants from around the world to discuss the urgent challenge of transforming food systems. In the lead-up to the conference, Dr. Inge Brouwer and Mr. Mark Lundy, from the CGIAR Initiative on Sustainable Healthy Diets through Food Systems Transformation (SHiFT), appeared on Viet Nam’s VTC16, a news channel dedicated to agriculture and rural life (interview is in Vietnamese; English subtitles available).

As part of the televised interview with Associate Professor Dao The Anh, Vice President of Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and Associate Professor Truong Tuyet Mai, Vice Director of the National Institute of Nutrition—two of SHiFT’s local partners—Brouwer and Lundy discussed the challenges and opportunities facing sustainable healthy diets and nutrition security, both globally and in Viet Nam.

Over the last 35 years, Viet Nam has shifted its policy focus from agricultural productivity to food systems more broadly. In their interview with VTC16, Brouwer and Lundy explained the importance of using a food systems approach to improve diets and nutrition, saying that Viet Nam’s evolution highlights how food systems and strategy can successfully change over time. SHiFT has partnered with the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development and the National Institute of Nutrition to help define major food systems concepts and highlight the importance and role of sustainable healthy diets.

“I am often asked what a healthy diet is,” said Brouwer. “I always refer to the Vietnamese dietary guidelines, developed by the National Institute of Nutrition, as providing the best information on what a healthy diet is in the context of Viet Nam. These should be used to inform the public and policymakers.”

“Viet Nam is a great example for other countries,” said Lundy. “We’re very excited to work with our colleagues in Viet Nam to bring science and evidence to support the food systems transformation. As international experts, we’re happy to collaborate with and support our national partners as they decide, with other actors in the food system, what kind of change is needed, what evidence is needed, and what the priority is now.”

The International Food Policy Research Institute and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT lead SHiFT in close collaboration with Wageningen University & Research and with contributions from the International Potato Center (CIP). SHiFT combines high-quality nutritional and social science research capacity with development partnerships to generate innovative, robust solutions that contribute to healthier, more sustainable dietary choices and consumption of sustainable healthy diets. It builds on CGIAR’s unparalleled track record of agricultural research for development, including ten years of work on food systems and nutrition under the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH).

Header image: (left to right) Mark Lundy, SHiFT Deputy Lead; Inge Brouwer, SHiFT Lead; Associate Professor Dao The Anh, Vice President of Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences; and Associate Professor Truong Tuyet Mai, Vice Director of the National Institute of Nutrition, prepare for their interview on VTC16 with Nguyen Phuong Thao, the talk show’s producer and scriptwriter, and MC Nguyen Tu Anh. Photo provided by VTC.

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