By Mai An – Translated by Tan Nghia
From 2010 to 2020, Vietnamese men grew about 3.7 centimeters taller to an average 168.1 centimeters, and women about 1.4 centimeters taller to an average 156.2 centimeters, according to the 2019-2020 nutrition survey report announced by the Ministry of Health on Thursday.
“After 10 years, the height of Vietnamese has immensely changed, especially among males aged 18,” said Le Danh Tuyen, director of the National Institute of Nutrition.
The growth rate of Vietnamese over the last decade is about twice as fast compared to the 2010-2020 era. Over that time period, men only grew about 2.1 centimeters taller, while women only grew about 1 centimeter taller. On average, Vietnamese height has increased by about 1.1 centimeters in each decade since 1975, the report said.
Vietnamese have also been consuming more calories over the past decade, eating about 2,023 kcal a day in 2020 compared to 1,925 kcal a day in 2010. Their diets also included more vegetables, fruits and meat, the report stated.
However, obesity rates have been rising too , especially in urban areas. A total 19 percent of children aged 5-19 were considered obese in 2020, compared to 11.5 percent in 2010. Obesity rates in urban areas are measured at around 26.8 percent, while the rate in rural areas is 18.3 percent and mountainous areas 6.9 percent.
Do Xuan Quyen, deputy health minister, said the 2019-2020 report is the most comprehensive national nutrition study to date, with around 22,400 families across 25 cities and provinces surveyed. Its findings would help orient development of a national strategy for the future, Tuyen said.
Vietnam’s newly-appointed Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan is determined to boost sustainable development in the Mekong Delta, improve the lives of the region’s farmers, and market its products under an internationally recognized global brand.
In a recent discussion with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Minister Hoan, who was ratified by the National Assembly on April 8, shared that his goal is to create “responsible agriculture” in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.
According to Hoan, the expansion of the country’s agriculture sector may not be a strong indicator of income growth and quality-of-life improvements for Vietnamese farmers.
“Can we truly understand the lives of famers and their financial situations simply by looking at what the agriculture industry has achieved?” Hoan questioned.
During his tenure, Hoan hopes to create a balance between agricultural growth and the quality of life for famers while simultaneously managing the social and environmental impacts of development on farming.
In order to do this, his ministry plans to take a holistic approach to improving the agriculture sector, including considering the role of healthcare and environmental protection costs in developing sustainable farming.
“The agricultural industry should not be forced to ignore the environment, ecosystem, and public health in order to meet its growth targets,” he said, adding that the industry’s chase for high crop yields forces it to abuse chemical fertilizers and plant protection agents, which endangers public health and hurts the image of local brands.
Other problems noted by Hoan include the lack of updated market information and a loose connection between supply and demand which has led to wasted products or forced authorities to launch “rescue the famers” campaigns.
Such campaigns call on individuals and enterprises to purchase overproduced crops, such as the watermelons, purple onions, and oranges grown in Quang Ngai, Soc Trang, and Tuyen Quang Provinces, respectively.
Do not just exhort but give support
“In the past few years, we’ve managed to create a link between farm producers and investors in order to bring agriculture products to a wide variety of markets,” Minister Hoan said.
“Now it’s time to shift such a link to a value chain that ensures sustainable development.”
In a value chain, farm produce is classified and preliminarily processed before being supplied to markets.
This generates more jobs for workers and more income for farmers by creating preliminary treatment, preservation, and processing activities.
The uptick in revenue puts more money in farmers’ pockets, meaning fewer feel being forced to move to urban areas in search of more lucrative employment.
Regarding the role his ministry hopes to play in his vision for the industry, Hoan explained that government agencies at all levels should focus less on encouragement and more on educating farmers on agricultural economics in order for them to better understand the changing market.
Hoan also plans to focus his ministry on creating more outlets for both fresh and processed farming products.
“If the outlets are stagnant, production will come to a standstill,” he said.
The agriculture sector has long believed that the creation of outlets for farm produce falls under the responsibility of other industries and specialized agencies.
Such thinking must change and market solutions must be included from the beginning of any agricultural product development plan.
A global ‘Mekong Delta’ brand
Regarding the challenges that climate change and limited infrastructure pose to agriculture, Hoan declared the first step in overcoming these obstacles is to push the sector toward a nature-based production model.
Such a switch will be based on Government Resolution 120, which is centered on the sustainable development of the Mekong Delta in response to climate change, Minister Hoan explained.
After famers have been educated on agricultural economics, they will begin to understand higher produce quality, as opposed to higher yields, can provide hefty long-term benefits and pave the way for strong brands, reputations, and profits.
At the same time, the industry must adopt an ecosystem-based development strategy which satisfactorily resolves the issue of promoting agricultural production on the basis of adaptation to climate change, the minister said.
Such adaptation includes not only boosting infrastructural development but also adjusting agricultural thinking and operation systems on both provincial and district levels throughout the delta.
Doing so, Hoan further explained,will help the Mekong Delta transform into a global brand capable of surviving climate change and other likely challenges.
Minister Hoan’s primary focuses for his tenure rely on the idea of “responsible agriculture” – agricultural development that does not abuse chemical fertilizers and plant protection agents.
He shared that he once asked farmers in Dong Thap Province whether or not they overused chemical fertilizers and plant protection agents in farming production and they just chuckled in response.
The practices of “two-bed vegetables” – one bed of clean vegetables for growers to eat and the other, fed with chemical fertilizers and plant protection agents, for sale – and “two-cage pigs,” one cage of clean swine for breeders and the other, bred with weight gain or leanness-enhancing agents, for sale, are still common in certain areas across the country.
He also blamed excessively intensive farming of up to three paddy crops per year for gradual farmland deterioration because the practice requires farmers to use more chemical fertilizers and plant protection agents.
As such, the practice has harmful long-term impacts on both human health and the land, water, and air.
The Mekong Delta, which has 13 administrative units, including a centrally-run city (Can Tho) and 12 provinces, covers 40,547.2km² and has a total population of over 17.2 million people, accounting for 13 percent of Vietnam’s area and nearly 18 percent of the country’s population, the General Statistics Office of Vietnam reported in 2019.
According to the Planning Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the delta accounts for about 40 percent of Vietnam’s total value of agricultural production. The corresponding proportions of rice, fisheries, and fruit output are 50, 65 and 70 percent.
The region also makes up 90 percent of the country’s total rice exports.
Attending the event hosted by the chapter were Senior Colonel Mac Duc Trong, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations (VNDPKO), Phan Thi Thanh Huong, Secretary of the Vietnam Youth Union’s Ho Chi Minh City chapter, and Senior Colonel Nguyen Van Tuan, Head of the Department of Politics of Military Hospital 175 under the Ministry of National Defense.
During the exchange, the participants recalled stories highlighting the role of Uncle Ho’s soldiers and the contributions of the military medical force of the Vietnam People’s Army to the UN peacekeeping operations. These contributions help realize the Party and State’s foreign policies, and raise the prestige and position of Vietnam in general and of the Vietnam People’s Army in particular in the international arena.
The Vietnamese peacekeepers also recalled their unforgettable memories and impressions when they performed their tasks as ambassadors of peace in people-to-people diplomacy.
An exhibition showcasing Vietnamese peacekeepers’ activities in South Sudan, a presentation of 200 national flags, 200 bandannas, and 200 “I love my Fatherland” badges from the chapter to the Level 2 Field Hospital (L2FH) Rotation 3 also took place on this occasion as part of the exchange.
The chapter and the L2FH Rotation 3 virtually signed a cooperation agreement under which they will periodically organize exchanges and dialogues, host a virtual exchange program themed “Youth and aspirations to rise”, and build a green space at the L2FH Rotation 3 in South Sudan.
They will also coordinate to implement international voluntary projects in South Sudan related to healthcare, social skills, cultural exchanges, online refresher courses on international youth affairs, and launch a painting contest under the theme “Love for peace”.
The exchange aroused municipal youths’ patriotism and pride of Vietnamese troops and military doctors and featured the role of Vietnamese youth in participating in UN peacekeeping operations.
Translated by Mai Huong
Among the affected, 540,000 lost their jobs during the period while 3.1 million had their working hours reduced or took unpaid leave, with 6.5 million others reporting reduced incomes, the General Statistics Office (GSO) reported Friday.
The country’s labor force shrunk by 1.1 million against the previous quarter to 51 million, the report stated.
Pham Hoai Nam, head of the GSO’s department of population and labor statistics, blamed the dark picture on the resurgence of Covid-19 before the Lunar New Year, the country’s biggest festival.
Vietnam encountered a new wave of Covid-19 on Jan. 28 in what the government said was caused by the U.K.-originated variant. In February, many areas in Vietnam were placed under lockdown as authorities raced against time to contain the spread of the virus.
The service sector was hit hardest by the crisis with 20.4 percent of workers affected, followed by the processing and manufacturing industries, along with agriculture.
The average monthly income in the first quarter was VND6.3 million ($272.95), down 2.3 percent over the previous year.
According to the GSO, the unemployment rate in the first quarter was 2.42 percent, down 0.21 percentage points against the previous quarter and up 0.08 percentage points year-on-year.
Severe Covid-19 impacts have seen as many as 40,300 companies shut up shop in the first quarter, a year-on-year increase of 16 percent.
GSO hoped the government would soon implement a Covid-19 vaccine passport so aviation, tourism and services could recover from the impacts of the pandemic.
The government closed borders and canceled all international flights in March last year, allowing in only certain categories of people including foreign diplomats and specialists and with stringent conditions.
Vietnam’s GDP grew 4.48 percent in the first quarter.
The government has set a GDP growth target of 6.5 percent for 2021.
Hanoi (VNA) – As many as 9.1 million Vietnamese people aged 15 and above were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of this year, Director of the Department of Population and Labour Statistics under the General Statistics Office (GSO) Pham Hoai Nam told a press conference on April 16.
Nam said that of those affected, 540,000 people lost their jobs and 2.8 million had to temporarily cease business and production activities .
Meanwhile, 3.1 million people said they had their hours cut or were forced to take time off from work, while 6.5 million workers reported reductions in their income.
Workers in urban areas were more severely affected than those in rural areas, with 15.6 percent of those in urban areas still affected, compared to 10.4 percent in rural areas.
Nguyen Minh Huy, deputy director of the department, said Vietnam recorded fewer workers in the first quarter of 2021 both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year. Vietnam has long posted rising numbers of workers each year.
The workforce totalled 51 million people in the quarter, down 1.1 million quarter-on-quarter and nearly 181,000 year-on-year.
The GSO said the third wave of COVID-19 in Vietnam affected the recovery of the country’s labour market, pushing a lot of people, especially women, into the informal economy.
The number of employed workers aged 15 and over in the first quarter was 49.9 million, down more than 959,000 against the previous quarter and nearly 178.000 against the same period last year./.