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From Field to Fork

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From Field to Fork


The IDRC-supported project, Nutrition and food security in uplands of Vietnam and Thailand, aimed to identify local and practical solutions to improve nutrition and food security of smallholder farmers using “nutrition-sensitive agriculture” (NSA). NSA means that we focus not only on the production of more food, but also the nutritional quality of the food, and what the farmers do with the food.

Three project sites were chosen: Mae Chaem district of Chiang Mai province in Thailand, A Luoi district of Thua Thien Hue province and Yen Chau district of Son La province in Vietnam. Malnutrition and food security remain serious problems in both Vietnam and Thailand, particularly amongst ethnic minorities living in remote, upland areas. Low productivity and lack of food diversity contribute to food insecurity in these regions.

The project’s overall objective was to identify local and practical solutions to improve nutrition and food security amongst smallholder farmers in rural upland communities in Vietnam and Thailand through NSA solutions. The project first identified the nutrition and agriculture practices already used in the regions and secondly appropriate NSA strategies were developed and tested.

The project evaluation assessed changes in nutrition and food security as well as any changes in gender roles, sharing workload and child care responsibility while considering affordability and sustainability of interventions. Some important project activities and outcomes included:

  • Training on nutrition and feeding of children increased their dietary diversity and improved breastfeeding practices.
  • NSA strategies were tested such as chicken raising, home gardening and vermiculture in order to improve dietary diversity, increase consumption of animal-source food and diversity of vegetable production for home consumption.
  • Most farmers in all three sites expressed interest in continuing the chicken raising and vegetable farming interventions.
  • Gender roles changed in all sites, with men becoming more involved in sharing the workload of their wives.
Ambassadors visit nutrition project in Vietnam

The Ambassadors of Canada (Mr. David Devine) and Switzerland (Ms. Beatrice Maser) to Vietnam visited the site of this HealthBridge project on Jan 14, 2016. The visitors met with district and commune leaders, health and agriculture officers and a local family. They were very impressed with what the local project participants, Mrs. Bich and her husband, have learned from the project: the family is now raising chickens for their eggs, worms to feed the chickens (vermiculture), and have improved how they grow vegetables and rice, all of which benefits their children and the community.

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