(VOV) - Japan has pledged US$4.5 million to help Vietnam improve its capacity for supervising the safety of agro-forestry-fishery food products.
A project for improving the capacity for monitoring and controlling food safety was signed in Hanoi on November 8 by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Vietnam Sanitary and Phytosanitary Notification Authority and Enquiry Point (SPS Vietnam), and the International Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).
The three year project, worth US$4.5 million in non-refundable aid from the Japanese government, will be carried out from 2011-2014.
Project partners include SPS Vietnam, the National Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Assurance Department (NAFIQAD), the Plant Protection Department and the Veterinary Department.
The project is being implemented as food poisoning continues to occur in many localities and some staple Vietnamese agro-forestry-fishery products are destroyed or sent back by importing countries due to food safety issues.
According to the General Statistics Office (GSO), 93 outbreaks of food poisoning were reported in October in Vietnam in which 4,400 people were poisoned and 15 others died.
Taigo Endo, JICA’s SPS expert, said that Vietnam has created regulations on food safety but the capacity to implement them is still poor.
Under the project, Japan will help Vietnam by transferring food quality control technology and training human resources.
Head of the MARD Agro-Forestry-Fishery Product Quality Control Department, Nguyen Nhu Tiep, said that the project has three major targets: improving the capacity for controlling agro-forestry-fishery products at laboratories; improving the national supervisory program on the safety of agro-forestry-fishery food products, and enhancing the capacity of cadres involved in the project.