19/07/2018  Ha Noi, Viet Nam.  FAO Viet Nam, in collaboration with National Agriculture University, today took an important step to strengthen the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in supplying nutritious foods in Viet Nam.

Under the 5year FAO project  “Strengthening capacities for nutrition-sensitive food systems through a multi-stakeholder approach” funded by the Japanese Government, “SMEs Capacity Development Needs Assessment Workshop” was held with participation from leaders and representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), National Institute of Nutrition – Ministry of Health, Embassy of Japan in Vietnam, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD), Vietnam Standards and Consumers Association (VINASTAS), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Center of SMEs Support, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), GAIN – Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, FAO headquarters and Viet Nam office, National Agriculture University and local SMEs.

In particular, the workshop’s objectives were to identify challenges SMEs are facing to supply nutritious foods, disseminate an FAO’s background paper and incorporate feedback on constraints and ways to enhance SMEs’ contribution to promotion of healthy diets and nutrition-sensitive food systems.

SMEs plays a key role to ensure food systems “nutrition-sensitive”, yet it is essential to develop capacities of various stakeholders to mainstream nutrition in their policies and investments.

In response, FAO is working with the government to scale up these capacity development activities and closer engagement with agriculture-focused universities and training institutions in addition to health-related professionals at country level. Within this work, FAO assists in engaging and training private sector entities, in particular SMEs, on how their investments in food and agriculture can improve nutrition.

SMEs play a pivotal role as they provide much of the day-to-day sustenance for low-income households, yet they are usually overlooked, falling through the cracks of policies on agriculture, food safety, nutrition, trade, or agro-industry.  While FAO together with Government agencies, our partners agencies as well as academia, we try to place food and nutrition policies to be supportive of food environments in which all people can access a high-quality diet” said Toko Kato, Nutrition and Food System Officer at FAO Headquarters.

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations