A view of the conference. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Reducing food shortages and malnutrition in the northern provinces of Lao Cai, Lai Chau and Ha Giang is the main goal of a project sponsored by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada.

The project has been carried out in the three localities from November 2015 to June 2018, heard a conference in Hanoi on June 18.

A representative from the National Institute of Nutrition under the Ministry of Health said the project aims to build a supply chain meeting the standards of the institute to address food safety barriers for the target populations, especially mothers and children, in the aforesaid provinces.

After nearly three years of implementation, the project has built a system of 13 consulting desks on child raising in the localities, opened training courses on safe agricultural practices for needy women and provided online courses on food security.

Over 1,600 children under two years old in nine communes along with more than 2,500 children in 10 kindergartens and poor women with children have benefited from the project.

The ratio of underweight children has decreased remarkably from 17.2 percent to 13.9 percent while that of wasted ones has dropped from 7.6 percent to 3.4 percent.

According to the National Institute of Nutrition, besides the aforesaid outcomes, the implementation of the project still meets some challenges in approaching public-private partnership on nutrition.

It remains difficult to access to areas where ethnic minority people inhabit and provide safe materials for food workshops.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has recently issued a National Action Programme on Zero Hunger, aiming to ensure enough food and nutrition for all citizens.

The programme is part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No 2 which focuses on sustainable solutions to eradicate hunger in all its forms by 2030 and to achieve food security.

The programme prioritises the reduction of malnutrition among children under two by 2025.

More specifically, a target has been set to reduce the ratio of children under two who are a low height for their age (stunted) to less than 20 percent across most of the country, and 25 percent for children in mountainous areas in the northern and Central Highland regions.

The target for children under two who are a low weight for their height or a low weight for their age has been set at below 5 percent.-VNA