Opportunities for a low-emission transformation of Vietnam’s food system

  • From
    CGIAR Initiative on Low-Emission Food Systems
  • Published on
  • Challenges

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Key messages

  • Between 2010 and 2020, Vietnam’s food system emissions increased in absolute terms, from 96.4 to 104.5 MtCO2eq, although they decreased in relative terms, from 34 to 26.5% of national emissions. Still, food system emissions in Vietnam represent a significant share of national emissions.
  • The main sources of food system emissions in Vietnam are, by decreasing order of importance: (i) rice cultivation (35.7 MtCO2eq in 2020; or 34% of total food system emissions); (ii) livestock management (i.e. enteric fermentation and manure together, 24.4 MtCO2eq; or 23%); (iii) synthetic fertilizers (10 MtCO2eq; 10%); (iv) food system waste disposal (8.6 MtCO2eq; 8%); and (v) household food consumption (8.1 MtCO2eq; also 8%). Reducing emissions from these sources should be the top priority for mitigation strategies in Vietnam’s food system.
  • Emissions beyond farmgate increased significantly (+37%) between 2010 and 2020 and should not be overlooked. These emissions could be sensibly and quite easily reduced by more efficient energy-use across food value chains, reduced food loss and waste and more sustainable consumption patterns.
  • More generally, effective climate action planning should not only consider the size of sectoral emissions, but also the cost and feasibility (i.e. the ‘political economy’) of implementing transformative measures. Reducing GHG emissions will require a comprehensive and integrated approach, considering the whole food supply chain, from cradle to grave, as well as effective policies, financial incentives, education and capacity building, technical and organizational innovations, and strong governance mechanisms involving multiple actors, sectors and scales.
  • One important aspect hindering progress along these emission reduction pathways is a substantial data gap. A considerable number of sectoral emissions have yet to be adequately quantified, including emissions from fisheries and aquaculture or emissions associated with food loss and waste at different stages of food value chains. This is crucial for effectively preparing and designing climate action strategies based on reliable evidence.

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