Vietnam launches Zero Hunger program

By Dang Khoa   June 18, 2018 | 07:00 pm PT
Vietnam launches Zero Hunger program
Children wait to wash their hands with a teacher at a kindergarten in Dak Lak Province in Vietnam's Central Highlands. Photo by Thanh Nguyen
National action program seeks to reduce malnutrition, increase food security.

Vietnam has launched a Zero Hunger program that seeks to lower malnutrition rates and stunted growth through improved nutrition and sustainable food production.

The National Action Program Zero Hunger was launched by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Saturday, June 6, Vietnam News Agency reported.

It targets reducing the number of stunted children under two years old to below 20 percent nationwide and 25 percent for children in the north and the Central highlands. It also aims to get children under two years with low weight for their height or age to below 5 percent.

The program has policies supporting pregnant women and providing adequate nutrition.

It also encourages farmers to develop a sustainable food system by participating in co-operatives and production chains. This will enable households to increase production through large scale farming and gain higher incomes.

Zero Hunger will be funded by the national poverty reduction program to the tune of VND545 billion ($23.7 million) plus during the 2018-2025 period. Many ministries have been assigned to implement it.

The National Action Program on Zero Hunger follows a U.N. goal to find long term, sustainable solutions to eliminate hunger in all forms by 2030 through national food security.

Nine million Vietnamese people are still living in extreme poverty, according to a World Bank report released last April.

Vietnam's poverty rate fell by almost 4 percentage points since 2014, to 9.8 percent in 2016, but the problem is far from solved, especially among ethnic minority groups, the report said.

In Vietnam, poor people are defined as those who earn up to VND700,000 ($31) a month in rural areas and VND900,000 ($40) in cities. According to the General Statistics Office, 8 percent of families in Vietnam were living under the poverty line last year.

Official statistics show that the number of people living in hunger in the country dropped by 32 percent from the previous year to 746,100 in 2017.

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