Sustainable Food and Agriculture


Supporting sustainable agriculture transitions in Viet Nam

15 May 2020

In recent years, Viet Nam has experienced rapid economic growth, becoming fully integrated within global markets and achieving lower-middle-income country status.

While the economy has increasingly shifted towards industry and services, agriculture still plays a major role, contributing approximately 14 percent of GDP. Today, most of Viet Nam’s population lives in rural areas, with an estimated 44 percent of people relying on agriculture, including forestry and fisheries, for their livelihoods.

As such, agriculture can and must contribute to reducing poverty and achieving Zero Hunger in Viet Nam. That is why developing sustainable agriculture is a key priority area in the cooperation between Viet Nam and FAO. This is a selection of projects and actions carried out in Viet Nam in 2018 and 2019, which contribute to FAO’s strategic objective of making food and agriculture more productive and sustainable.

National Adaptation Plan for Agriculture

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) considers Viet Nam to be among the countries most threatened by the impacts of climate change and variability. Its agriculture sector is particularly vulnerable to flooding, prolonged droughts and rising sea levels. It is thus imperative to enhance Viet Nam’s resilience in the face of climate-related threats.

Working with partners from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), FAO facilitated the creation of a National Adaptation Plan for Agriculture, which lays out key initiatives to boost resilience across all agriculture subsectors.

Activities included: adaptation and capacity-building trainings for public and private agriculture sector institutions and the general public; conducting vulnerability and risk assessments of selected agriculture sectors at national level and a cost-benefit analysis to support sectoral adaptation planning, budgeting, and policy formulation; production of a manual on adaptation monitoring and evaluation; identification of climate change-related threats and adaptation needs in key agriculture sector development documents, policies, and programmes.

Promoting innovative and sustainable agriculture practices

Scaling-up rice-fish farming

Viet Nam’s aquaculture and integrated agro-aquaculture sectors hold significant untapped potential, given the increasing global and regional demand for fish and agricultural products, as a result of population growth and changes in people’s dietary habits.

The “Support scaling-up of innovative rice-fish farming in Vietnam” project, funded by FAO and implemented by the Department of Aquaculture under the Directorate of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development (MARD), aimed to promote more productive, sustainable and climate-resilient rice-fish farming practices in the country.

The project, which was part of a regional initiative being implemented across Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Viet Nam, delivered a number of outcomes, including: developing innovative rice-fish farming good practices and approaches, which it promoted among farmers, ministerial stakeholders and others; demonstrating the good practices in farms across the intervention area, fostering experience and knowledge sharing; initiating the process of establishing a National strategy to support the scaling-up of innovative and sustainable rice-fish farming approaches.

Scaling-up integrated mangrove-shrimp farming

Mangrove forests provide a wide range of ecosystem services, including, among others, carbon sequestration and climate change mitigation, coastal protection, nursery grounds for fish and shrimps, and tourism. They are also essential to the livelihoods of fishers and other rural dwellers.

Despite their importance, mangroves are among the most threatened ecosystems in the world. In order to safeguard and enhance the sustainable use of mangroves across the southern regions of the country, FAO funded the project “Supporting the scaling-up of integrated mangrove-shrimp farming in Southern Viet Nam.”

The project outputs included an assessment study on the current state of mangrove-shrimp systems (covering farming practices, production and socio-economic performance, contribution to blue carbon and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions) in the Bac Lieu and Ca Mau provinces; technical support for the training of local extension staff and selected producer groups on integrated mangrove-aquaculture good practices; and gathering of information and datasets relevant to the contribution of integrated mangrove-shrimp farming to carbon sequestration.


Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, plus sustainable forest management, conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+), is an essential part of the global efforts to mitigate climate change. FAO supports developing countries in their REDD+ processes and in turning their political commitments, as represented in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), into action on the ground.

FAO is working with Viet Nam to strengthen the government's capacity in this area, and facilitated the transition to the REDD+ implementation phase, through UN-REDD Programme technical assistance.

In January 2019, Vietnam submitted its first Summary of Information on REDD+ safeguards to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), after finalizing its Satellite Information System (SIS) and releasing its first phase online, making Viet Nam the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to complete all the UNFCCC requirements for REDD+. A pilot monitoring and evaluation framework for REDD+ implementation has also been finalized.

Spurring progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals

With the 2030 Agenda deadline looming, it is essential for countries to focus their efforts towards the Sustainable Development Goals. By building capacity and facilitating the transition to more productive and sustainable agriculture and food systems, FAO supports countries in the achievement of a fair, food secure future for all.

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