Raising awareness and promoting gender-responsive food safety practices to cultivate a food safety culture are among the goals of the SAFEGRO project. In particular, the gender-responsive food safety community model is one of SAFEGRO’s initiatives.

On December 5, the SAFEGRO project organized a training workshop on gender-responsive food safety for key officials at the commune and village levels, as well as production members of the Van Duc cooperative.

During the workshop, SAFEGRO’s intervention was likened to a three-legged stove, providing technical support to Van Duc commune. The food safety specialist introduced an advanced food safety management approach throughout the food chain, while the gender specialist highlighted specific measures to integrate gender into the chain. A quick assessment of participants’ understanding of food safety culture was also conducted through pre-training survey and discussions.

The workshop identified gaps in food safety, particularly in vegetable production and market management. Food safety is also an essential criterion for the advanced new rural program that Van Duc needs to maintain and implement in the long-term.

In discussions about the vegetable value chain, emphasis was placed on the need to raise awareness of food safety and apply best practices among farmers during production, as well as the importance of cooperative management capacity and market development.

Concerning the market, participants noted that food safety practices among vendors at the Van Duc market are poor. Awareness of hygiene, food safety, environmental protection, and cultural behaviors remains limited. The capacity of the market management board to prioritize food safety and gender sensitivity needs improvement. They also highlighted restrictions related to non-food-safe equipment.

The workshop also reached an agreement on intervention measures to address the gaps in food safety and promote the role of women in food safety management both in the market and in the vegetable value chain.

Mr. Tran Xuan Dieu, the Chairman of Van Duc commune, expressed his gratitude for the SAFEGRO project. He likened the project to a breath of fresh air, helping Van Duc farmers prosper and develop on their own land. The Van Duc People’s Committee and farmers eagerly anticipate technical support from the project, committing to cooperate and actively participate in its activities with the aim of turning Van Duc into a model rural commune.

In the coming period, SAFEGRO will collaborate with Van Duc commune to upgrade the Van Duc market by providing technical support in designing and arranging stalls to ensure food safety. The project will also facilitate activities such as implementing women leadership training and organizing communication events on food safety in the Van Duc market and community. These initiatives fall within the framework of the gender-responsive food safety community model and the support commitment signed between the SAFEGRO project, sub-NAFIQAD, and Gia Lam District Economic Department.

Funded by Global Affairs Canada, the Safe Food for Growth (SAFEGRO) project seeks to enhance the Vietnamese population’s access to safe and competitive agri-food products, with an aim to improve the well-being of consumers in Viet Nam. SAFEGRO is implemented by Alinea International in partnership with the University of Guelph.