The historical evolution of the Vietnamese food system: Case study of paddy rice

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Insinööritieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Master's Programme in Water and Environmental Engineering (WAT)
19 + 9
Rice is the staple food for the Vietnamese people. It is not only vital to ensure adequate food supply, but also an important commercial commodity for the economy of Vietnam. However, rice production can be vulnerable to changes in external socio-economic factors, such as the national political situation. This was the main motivation to conduct this study about the historical evolution of the Vietnamese food system, focusing especially on rice. By studying rice production, supply and trade data during three different political periods, i) the Vietnam War era (1961-1975), ii) the Subsidy period (1975-1986), and iii) the Developing period (1986-2013), interactions between the Vietnamese food system and the political situation could be observed. The results showed stagnation in Vietnamese rice production during the Vietnam War era, as the Average annual growth rate (AAGR) of rice production stood at 1.2% year-1, while the average annual quantity of imported rice was about 0.7 million tons year-1. The Subsidy period (1975-1986) was known as “one of the darkest periods in the development of Vietnam”. The centralized and socialist economy limited the development opportunities of the Vietnamese rice industry, especially during the beginning of the period. Thus, even the AAGR increased to 4.4% year-1 due to the significant improvement in the half end of the Subsidy period, the average food supply in Vietnam remained at the same value as during the Vietnam War era (1 945 and 1 942 kcal cap-1 day-1, respectively). The struggle of the Vietnamese economy pushed Vietnam into a change in the political system called the Renovation, Doi Moi in Vietnamese, in 1986. The positive change in the Vietnamese political situation motivated the rise of many sectors, including the rice production industry. During the developing period, rice production increased sharply (AAGR was 5.7% year-1), and Vietnam became one of the top rice exporters globally.
Kummu, Matti
Thesis advisor
Kinnunen, Pekka
Heino, Matias
rice production, political situation, domestic supply quantity, imports and exports, Southest Asia
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