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Economy, agriculture and food security
In 2009, gross domestic product (GDP) of Viet Nam was US$90 091 million, with a value added in agriculture reaching the 21 percent of the GDP. The total economically active population was about 46.1 million inhabitants (49 percent female) of which 29.3 million are active in agriculture (49 percent female). The average annual unemployment rate was 5.8 percent during the period 2001–2005.
Agriculture plays a very important role in socio-economic development, in poverty alleviation and in food security. Recently, the country has become one of the three top countries in the world for rice exports, together with Thailand and the United States.
The production of cereals, sugar, roots, tubers and meat is large enough to ensure both domestic consumption and provide a surplus for export. However, the country’s production capacity for vegetable oils and milk does not meet domestic demand.
About one-fifth of all rural households are headed by women. Gender inequality between male and female headed households in the agricultural sector, identified on the basis of the 2006 rural, agriculture and fishery census, includes inequalities related to access to land, land size, irrigated land cultivated land. National level results show that access to agricultural land in rural areas by households headed by women is 13 percent lower than that for households headed by men.
The average area of land accessed by households headed by women a is 27 percent smaller than that of male headed households. Further, the size of irrigated land among female headed households is 41 percent less compared to that of male headed households. Less than 10 percent of all commercial farms in Viet Nam are owned by households headed by women. Other gender inequalities include access to information and communication, access to loans and livestock production (FAO, 2010).