Media Release on 7 May 2007
VEGETABLES PLAY VITAL ROLE IN VIETNAM
Hanoi - Exploring ways to alleviate poverty and empower women through the development of new products based on indigenous vegetables is to be considered at a meeting of eminent Australian and Vietnamese government officials, researchers and community leaders at a two-day workshop commencing today (7 May) in Hanoi.
The project, which is supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), was established at the request of Her Excellency Mme Truong My Hoa, Vice President of Vietnam and with the strong support of the Mme Ha Thi Khiet, the president of the Vietnam Women’s Union, both of whom spoke at the opening of the workshop.
Workshop co-host and speaker, His Excellency Mr Bill Tweddell, Australia’s Ambassador to Vietnam pointed out the importance of both understanding the role of women in agricultural production and marketing systems, and also training and equipping them in their work.
“Women play a vital role in the production, marketing and end use of vegetable crops in Vietnam and this project aims to enhance women’s capability to both produce crops which have an increased market value and then to market them effectively through education, training and provision of information,” said Ambassador Tweddell.
“In Vietnam and Australia, indigenous vegetables, have cultural significance, commercial potential and health benefits,” said Ambassador Tweddell.
“Vietnam has a rich biodiversity of indigenous plants which are consumed as vegetables and herbs. At the moment, the cultivation and consumption of many of these plants is common in rural and remote communities.
“One of the aims of the project is to investigate alternative vegetable crops that can be produced safely and marketed effectively to secure health, economic and social benefits.
“Over the next four years or so we hope to review what work has already been carried out on indigenous vegetables in Vietnam; look at the role of women in the growing, selling and use of indigenous vegetables; identify the vegetables with best potential for development, and identify the major constraints to enhancing their production, marketing and use,” he said.
“We also hope that there may be important lessons for Australia as well – both for our own indigenous communities, and also for market gardeners and the bush food industry in Australia.
“Vegetables make up a significant proportion of the diet of most Vietnamese people and the production of vegetables is a significant factor in ensuring that people have an adequate intake of many essential vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates every day,” Ambassador Tweddell said.
“Apart from the health aspect, vegetables provide a good source of income for many Vietnamese families.”
“Enhancing the capability of women in agriculture will hopefully benefit whole communities and assist families to produce high quality, marketable and profitable commodities for income generation and home consumption,” he said.
Ambassador Tweddell congratulated Her Excellency Mme Truong My Hoa for her personal support for the project which will benefit a range of women from different minority groups throughout Vietnam.
“It is through the advocacy, enthusiasm and commitment of Mme Hoa that this project has been initiated,” he said.
The workshop is being attended by scientists from the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, the Victorian Department of Primary Industries in Australia, the Vietnam Women’s Union, the National Institute of Medicinal Materials, the Fruit and Vegetable Research Institute, the Food Crops Research Institute and the International Centre for Underutilised Crops, along with a number of Vietnamese universities and other institutions, Vietnamese farmer groups and industry.
For further information please contact:
Nguyen Thi Kim Loan
Deputy Country Manager
Tel. (84-4) 831 7755, ext. 263
Fax. (84-4) 831 7707
Handphone. (84) (0) 904801140