Representatives from Vietnam 's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development attended an APEC workshop on food security in Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia , from June 18-21.

With the theme ‘Innovative approaches for the implementation of APEC food security action plan in developing economies,’ the workshop attracted almost 60 delegates from Brunei , China , Indonesia , Japan , Malaysia , the Philippines , Papua New Guinea , Thailand and Vietnam .

Over the four days they focused their discussions on techniques to increase productivity and efficiency in food production, measures to raise rural incomes, promoting agricultural production and increasing the country’s capacity to store food.

They also debated measures to upgrade the transportation and distribution networks for fresh food, step up the transfer of knowledge and experience in agricultural production and encourage the private sector to become more involved, especially in investment in food processing and transportation.

Pham Quang Huy, one of the Vietnamese delegates, presented a report on food security in Vietnam and the Government's measures to ensure the nation’s food security.

He said that after more than two decades of the renewal process, Vietnam 's agricultural sector has made many outstanding achievements, particularly in food production.

In an attempt to become self sufficient the country has increased its food output and it is now the second largest exporter of rice in the world.

However, he said, national food security still faces several challenges, including huge post-harvest losses due to natural disasters, climate change and inadequate processing and storage facilities.
To overcome these challenges, the Vietnamese Government has included national food security in its strategy for national socio-economic development. This includes developing agriculture comprehensively and efficiently and increasing food production in competitive and specialised rice growing zones, according to Huy.

The country has well organised networks for trading and storing food in many regions across the country and has centralised resources from a number of economic sectors to ensure food security, he added.

In 2011, Vietnam 's food output reached a record high, including 42.3 million tonnes of rice, 7.2 million tonnes of which were for export.

This year, the country plans to produce 42.5 million tonnes of rice and export 7.3 million tonnes.-VNA