Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on December 9 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on technical assistance to manage and prevent African swine fever (ASF) in Vietnam.
The MoU is part of an International Finance Corporation-led technical assistance program aimed at enhancing agricultural competitive capacity.
Under the MoU, the IFC will assist the MARD in fact-finding survey, review, research, amendments proposal, and the development of legal documents to promote livestock production biosecurity and disease prevention and control with a focus on ASF.
The MoU intends to establish a framework for collaboration, clearly identify objectives, contribute to executing biosecurity measures to prevent ASF and other common illnesses in pig production, strive to establish bio-safe breeding sites for export.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien (left) hands over the Memorandum of Understanding to Principal Financial Specialist of IFC Vietnam Darryl Dong. Photo: Vu Phuong
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien noted that animal husbandry is an important economic sector that contributes significantly to agricultural output, economic development, food safety, employment, and livelihoods for millions of people.
"The export of Vietnamese livestock goods, including poultry meat, salted eggs, and honey, among others, has earned more than US$1 billion. Currently, the livestock industry makes up more than 25% of the agricultural sector's overall production value, and the industry's expansion potential is believed to be extremely substantial," Tien said.
However, Vietnam's livestock industry continues to face several shortcomings, including insufficient management of harmful infectious diseases, food safety and environmental concerns, poor animal productivity, and high product prices, Tien stressed, adding that ASF is a hemorrhagic disease and there is currently no effective vaccine available to protect pigs against this illness, and severe disease may kill 100% of sick pigs.
To address inadequacies and capitalize on the potential for sustainable livestock growth, the deputy minister urged the livestock sector to apply synchronous solutions immediately to reorganize the business in a more suitable way.
"I believe that with the determination of MARD, cooperation activities within the framework established by the MoU will successfully support Vietnam's livestock competitiveness in the global market while opening up opportunities for accessing numerous potential markets of Vietnam," said Deputy Minister Tien.
The MARD highly valued international partners for their series of cooperation and support activities for Vietnam's livestock industry, including financial support, expert training, scientific research collaboration, investment and technical exchange, stock breeding, among others.
IFC Regional Industry Director for Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Services in Asia Pacific Rana Karadsheh said IFC will help Vietnam improve its capacity in terms of legal framework and institution regarding the implementation of biosafety measures and diseases monitoring in pig farming, Rana added.
She stressed that the critical element in preventing the illness is to contribute to the maintenance of pig supplies for the local market, to the establishment of disease-free breeding grounds, and the preparation of Vietnamese pork for export. Vietnam is the region's first nation to use this concept. MARD is critical in coordinating efforts with stakeholders to ensure that the strategic initiatives are implemented coherently.