During the past 30 years (1975-2005), Vietnam suffered from food shortage.
The Government made considerable efforts to increase food production for the
population - the main food staple being rice – and thanks to their policy,
Vietnam is now the second largest rice-exporting country in the world.
In October, 2005, a one-year project study was undertaken in Vietnam to identify and analyze existing national policies that enable or inhibit the wider use of underutilized plant species (UPS) there. This study was implemented by the Task Force of the ‘Genetic resource policy initiative’/Vietnam component, and led by Dr. Nguyen Van Dinh, Dean of the Faculty of Agronomy, Hanoi Agricultural University.
During the project period, 120 policy-related documents were collected and reviewed. Seventy-six of these were found to be concerned with promoting or inhibiting the advancement of UPS, at different levels.
Twenty-two researchers and policy-makers concerned with these species were then asked to provide their views on the selected documents and their comments were collected and analyzed. A project workshop was then held to share the results of the analysis.
Recommendations were made, followed by a discussion to determine the best means of exploiting UPS.
The participants in the workshop showed strong interest in the work concerning UPS, as these species represent a new venture for Vietnamese Agriculture. Moreover, there is a recognized potential for increasing their contribution to Vietnam’s economy, food security and poverty alleviation.