Viet Nam has an enviable record of reducing hunger and poverty: over the past 20 years poverty levels have been reduced by more than half. Many people speak of an era of new opportunities and prosperity, yet the struggle to overcome poverty, and end hunger and gender injustice is not won. With one in five Vietnamese currently living in poverty and 8.7 per cent of rural households food insecure, it has become even more challenging. As it changes to a middle-income country Viet Nam requires new poverty reduction strategies that place poor and marginalized farmers at the heart of decision-making processes, to ensure that growth is sustainable, equitable and resilient. It was farmers’ industriousness and productivity that turned Viet Nam from a food deficit country into a major exporter of agricultural commodities. It is critical that people have a strong voice and that poverty reduction strategies are carefully considered and targeted to break the cycle of chronic poverty. ‘Growing a Better Future in Viet Nam: Expanding Rights, Voices and Choices for Small-scale Farmers’ highlights three fundamental challenges facing Viet Nam: sustainable production, equity and resilience. Overcoming these will be vital to making Viet Nam’s new prosperity a lasting reality for all.
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