Delegates visit Dong Quang Market, a traditional market in Thai Nguyen City

Global food system delegates join a One Health learning journey in Vietnam

A One Health approach for improved food safety, food security and sustainable food systems was explored by the 4th Global Conference of the Sustainable Food System Programme (SFSP) of the One Planet Network on 26 April 2023. About 40 delegates from 15 countries came to visit the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)-led One Health field site in Thai Nguyen Province, north of Vietnam.

SFSP is a multi-stakeholder partnership which aims to accelerate the transformation towards sustainable consumption and production patterns in all areas related to food, with a special focus on promoting a holistic food systems approach in policy making. Thai Nguyen Province was selected as one of the five learning journeys for the delegates, to raise awareness on the One Health approach as an important tool to improve human well-being through reduction of diseases in humans, animals and the environment. 

Participants visited Dong Quang Market, a traditional market in Thai Nguyen City, to learn experiences from ILRI-led One Health food safety interventions, which were funded by the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR). Thai Nguyen Province is one of the four provinces of the ‘Market-based approach to improving the safety of pork in Vietnam’ (SafePORK) project which introduced value chain actors to an intervention package of measures to improve hygiene. These include separation of ready-to-eat pork and raw pork, and frequent washing of surfaces, equipment and vendors’ hands.

Delegates visit Dong Quang Market in Thai Nguyen City to learn about ILRI-led food safety interventions (photo credit: ILRI/Chi Nguyen).

Delegates then visited Thai Hai Tourism Village, which was recognized as the best in the world by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in 2022. Delegates gained a better understanding about the life, culture, agriculture practices and food systems of ethnic people who live in such villages. 

In the village, delegates joined a One Health booth to learn key achievements that the One Health research partnership in the province has attained across antimicrobial resistance (AMR), food safety and zoonotic diseases. These included the following studies: 

Pham Duc Phuc, coordinator Vietnam One Health University Network (VOHUN), a key partner of ILRI presents the key One Health research achievements in Thai Nguyen Province to delegates (photo credit: ILRI/Chi Nguyen).

Delegates also visited Hao Dat Tea Cooperative and observed a demonstration of low-emission biomass gasification in safe tea processing, supported by Oxfam in Vietnam.

Like other delegates, Marie-Pierre Mignault, deputy director of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, appreciated the traditional market in Thai Nguyen City as an important source of diverse and ready-to-eat foods that are accessible and affordable to local people. ‘However, more attention should be paid to traceability elements that increase consumers' trust in food safety in the traditional markets,’ she commented.

Delegates visit the Thai Hai Village to learn about the culture and life of the ethnic people living in the village (photo credit: ILRI/Chi Nguyen).

This visit was co-hosted by the Vietnam One Health Partnership for Zoonosis and International Cooperation Department (ICD), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), CGIAR Initiative on Protecting Human Health through a One Health Approach (OHI), ILRI and Vietnam One Health University Network (VOHUN). 

Delegates visit Hao Dat Tea Cooperative in Thai Nguyen Province (photo credit: ILRI/Chi Nguyen).

The 4th Global Conference of the Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) Programme took place in Hanoi, Vietnam from 24-27 April 2023 and brought about 300 international delegates from state agencies, academia, private sector, civil society and media. The conference aims to further promote the food systems approach and inclusive governance and collaboration at all levels. It also provides a space for national convenors, the United Nations Food System Summit (UNFSS) coalitions, relevant multi-actor initiatives and other food systems actors to build capacities and deepen the collective efforts towards sustainable food systems pathways in view of the UNFSS 2023 Stock-Taking Moment.