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Minister Heydon announces major Vietnam/Ireland agrifood collaboration

Irish and Vietnamese agri-food authorities will embark on a new phase of co-operation in agri-food from 2023, Minister Martin Heydon TD, Minister of State with special responsibility for Research and Development, Farm Safety and New Market Development at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) announced today in Hanoi, where he is leading a trade mission. Ireland will work with Vietnamese and international counterparts to support Vietnam’s journey in transforming its food system.


Announcing the cooperation, Minister Heydon said: “Ireland is committed to becoming a global leader in sustainable food systems, as outlined in the Food Vision strategy. This underpins our relationship with Vietnam.  We will work with our counterparts to help Vietnam realise its own goals around economic, environmental and social sustainability in agri-food.  This co-operation programme will feature knowledge sharing, innovation, education and joint research activities.  It is an important part of Ireland’s political, trade and economic relationships with this dynamic and fast-growing nation.”


The co-operation programme, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs, will involve a series of relationships between Irish and Vietnamese partners, including State agencies, universities and private sector over a five-year period.  The objective is to support the country’s food system transformation journey through joint research, capability-building, training and educational linkages.  It will involve participation by Irish State agencies, universities and private sector. 

The programme will be managed by Sustainable Food Systems Ireland (SFSI), the technical co-operation provider established by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and four other government agencies active in agri-food – Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland and Teagasc.

Additionally, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, through its support to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN, will provide funding support for a pilot project on resilient livelihoods for rural women in the Northern Mountainous Region of Vietnam.  This project will contribute to increasing access to resilient and sustainable agriculture value chains for ethnic minority women.


Minister Heydon commented: “In Ireland, our Food Vision 2030 strategy calls out the need to support the central role of women in our farming and food communities. I am very pleased that, building on our strong partnership with FAO, funding from my Department will support the participation of rural women in farming and food businesses in Vietnam. The project has the potential to leave a lasting legacy by empowering rural women for generations to come.”




Notes for editors

  • Vietnam is one of the world’s fastest growing economies.  The agri-food sector is a key pillar of the economy, representing about one quarter of economic activity and supporting around half the country’s jobs.  Over the last three decades, modernisation of the sector, economic openness and increased regional and global trade have contributed to improved nutrition, quality of diet and reduced poverty levels, while at the same time leaving some negative environmental outcomes.
  • Vietnam’s food system is again changing.  As incomes rise, consumers are demanding more and better-quality food.  However, nutrition issues persist, especially in rural areas and among ethnic minorities; rural to urban migration is also shifting patterns of production and consumption, and climate change is exacerbating all these challenges. 
  • The proposed DFA-funded programme will provide support for activities under key themes:
  • Sustainable production systems for responsible, resilient and low emission agriculture
  • Food safety to ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all
  • Quality, certification and trade development to support transparent, competitive and inclusive value chains and strengthening of cooperatives as modern enterprise forms.
  • The DAFM-funded pilot project to be implemented by FAO in the Northern Mountainous Region (NMR), one of the most marginalized in the country and home to 42% of those living in poverty, the majority of whom belong to ethnic minority groups and rely on agriculture and natural resources for their livelihoods. 
  • The goal of the project is to increase access to market for smallholder farmers and small businesses.  It will do this through the convening of women-led farmers groups, targeted capacity development and small grant support to enhance women’s business and financial skills, to facilitate access to credit and to improve access to climate and market information.