Launch of Food Safety MoU between the Netherlands, World Bank and Vietnam

During the visit of Prime Minister Phúc of Viet Nam to the Netherlands last July, a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on food safety was signed by Prime Minister Phúc, Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, and World Bank Vietnam Country Director Ousmane Dione. Friday 10 November this MOU was formally launched in Hanoi.

Viet Nam has difficulty assuring the safety of its food chain as food safety is not controlled at a national level. In 2016, a report on food safety named “Food Safety Risk Management in Viet Nam: Challenges and Opportunities” was produced by the World Bank and partners at the request of the Government of Vietnam. According to the report, food safety is a major concern for the public, and without action by government, these problems are likely to worsen. The report also suggested a set of key policy recommendations with risk management is the key tool.

The Vietnamese government is keen to improve the situation. The ambition of the Vietnamese government is to develop its agriculture into a sustainable sector while improving the food security in line with the SDGs. In this ambition, the Vietnamese government looks to the Netherlands as a provider of high technology and knowledge. A Strategic Partnership on Agriculture (SPA), which was signed by the two prime ministers of Vietnam and the Netherlands in 2014, forms the foundation of the bilateral cooperation.

In this SPA it is agreed that the Netherlands will facilitate Vietnam in developing a sustainable agro- and food sector. Currently, Vietnam is seeking to intensify its collaboration with the Netherlands and the World Bank in assessing and addressing food safety risks. This expanded cooperation has been made official on 10 July 2017 at the occasion of the visit by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam to the Netherlands. A trilateral Memorandum of Understanding on food safety was signed by Prime Ministers Mark Rutte of the Netherlands and Prime Minister Phúc of Viet Nam, as well as the World Bank Vietnam Country Director Ousmane Dione.

Speaking at the launching ceremony of the MoU this morning, Ms. Pauline Eizema, Deputy Head of Mission from the Embassy of the Netherlands in Vietnam stated:

“The purpose of this MOU is to delineate the preferred collaboration between Viet Nam and the Netherlands in enhancing the food safety management system in Viet Nam, with the close involvement of the World Bank Group within the parameters of its mandate and country partnership. In this process Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority and Institute of Food Safety RIKILT will be consulted.”

An implementation plan based on recommendations by World Bank will be formulated with Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Government of the Netherlands (through Ministry of Economic Affairs), and the World Bank Group Country Office in Viet Nam. The Vietnamese Steering Committee on Food Safety will take the leading role in kick-starting the discussions on the implementation plan.

This implementation plan will include concrete (bankable) projects/activities how Viet Nam can improve its food chain, specifically aiming for adherence to international food safety norms. The plan consists of three key parts:
1. Development and implementation of a risk-based approach in the governmental food safety inspection system
2. Development of a ‘farm to fork’ approach that covers all aspects of the food production, marketing, and consumption chain
3. Improving the governmental laboratory structure.

With the determination and a concrete plan of the Vietnamese government, as well as the companionship of trusted partners as World Bank and the Netherlands, food safety is expected to be no longer a concern but a clear-cut factor of the national food chain.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Nguyen Hoai Linh – Communication Officer
Tel: (84-4) 3935 2920