IFC kicks off food safety initiative
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, signed an advisory agreement with the Bel Ga JSC, a Vietnam-based poultry breeding firm, and launched its Vietnam Food Safety Project at a conference held on July 1 in Ho Chi Minh City.
The project aims to address food safety standards and practices in the country. Improving the quality of food products will help businesses unlock new markets, reduce costs, and contribute to better food security.
By installing modern food safety management systems, the project will increase total sales by $30 million at participating companies. The financing that these companies can source is likely to increase by $25 million within a year after the project’s completion.
Annual food consumption in Vietnam accounts for roughly 15 per cent of GDP, with average annual growth rate at approximately 18 per cent. But, inadequate safety standards can inhibit the sector’s growth potential, jeopardizing consumer health and reducing market opportunities for local food companies in the modern food value chain.
Over the next three years, the IFC will work with agribusiness lead firms and their supply chains to improve food safety and secure internationally-recognized certifications. Firms can then retain key clients and gain better access to new markets. The project will also help build capacity by raising awareness among key industry players and by training consultants to develop a cadre of experts.
“A strategic priority for Vietnam’s poultry sector is to cater to the domestic market and export quality products that adhere to food safety standards at competitive prices,” said Mr. Nguyen Xuan Duong, Deputy Director of the Animal Husbandry Department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The Bel Ga JSC is the first to join the initiative. The IFC will advise 54 poultry houses of three independent Vietnamese farms among Bel Ga’s downstream poultry farms on acquiring the Global G.A.P. Certification.
It will establish a system for breeding activities for these farms, which will focus on hygiene and biosecurity, among other matters. “Food safety is becoming increasingly important in Vietnam,” said Mr. Kay De Vreese, General Director of the Bel Ga JSC. “By implementing a food safety management system, we commit to producing safe, affordable and traceable poultry products.”
The project is being implemented in partnership with the Slovak Republic. “We are very pleased to support the IFC’s efforts to improve Vietnam’s food safety,” said H.E. Igor Pacolák, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic in Vietnam. “We believe the private sector has an important role to play in promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth through this food safety initiative, which will benefit Vietnam’s businesses and consumers.”
“Modern food safety management systems make businesses more competitive,” said Mr. Kyle Kelhofer, IFC Country Manager for Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. “It helps them with improved efficiency and cost savings and contributes to a stronger brand value, preparing them for both new and more sustainable market opportunities.”
Source: Vietnam Economic Times