UN agricultural fund looks to further development in Viet Nam

31 Jul 2000

Ha Noi - A team from the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has spent the last five weeks in Viet Nam for the purpose of evaluating the current IFAD programme and determining its future approach in Vietnam. The IFAD team completed its visit on Friday in a three-hour wrap-up meeting with the Government of Viet Nam and various stakeholders.

There are four ongoing IFAD projects in Viet Nam, in the provinces of Tuyen Quang, Ha Giang, Quang Binh and Ha Tinh, each of them aiming to support and enhance the Governmentÿs policies of poverty alleviation and hunger eradication in disadvantaged areas. The mission visited three of these projects in order to determine their initial impact and to examine the ways in which future IFAD activities in the country may be improved and refined.

The findings were positive, with clear evidence that poverty levels in the provinces concerned are falling, and that progress has been made in such diverse sectors as participatory resource management, infrastructure improvements, agricultural development and reforestation.

IFAD projects are modest in scale but innovative in design, and the Fund has acquired a reputation as a laboratory for development concepts, from which other, larger international agencies have learnt. The chief focus of its activities is to encourage the genuine participation of farmers and villagers at all stages of project design and implementation, an aim for which the Government of Viet Nam has expressed its full support.

The IFAD team left Viet Nam after having individually and collectively covered several thousand kilometres of road and met with many farmers, fishers and foresters, as well as project staff and Government officials at the central, province, district and commune level. The atmosphere of the wrap-up meeting was both cordial and lively, and the IFAD team left with a positive feeling about the prospects for future IFAD involvement in Viet Nam. IFAD's team leader, Professor Vo Tong Xuan, affectionately known in many regions as ¬Doctor Farmerÿ, said that "IFAD has a unique role to play in reducing poverty in our country".

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UNDP Public Information Unit 942 1495