(2016) The impact on the food security of beneficiaries’ households and individuals of ADB agricultural project: Integrated Rural Development Sector Project in the Central Provinces, Vietnam

(2016) The impact on the food security of beneficiaries’ households and individuals of ADB agricultural project: Integrated Rural Development Sector Project in the Central Provinces, Vietnam

Funded by: Oxfam Australia

As a major development actor in the region, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has played a crucial role in supporting initiatives that build long-term sustainable food security and in ensuring that the benefits of food security flow to poor and marginalized groups. After the 2008 food crisis, the ADB put into place the Operational Plan for Sustainable Food Security in Asia and the Pacific 2010–2012 (2010), which outlined its food security program’s three areas of influence: productivity (enhancing the productivity of food and agriculture and the related rural economy); connectivity (improving connectivity among producers, particularly small households and farm households headed by women, food and agriculture industries, markets, and consumers); and resilience (improving the resilience of the agricultural and rural sectors against the impacts of climate change and associated climate variability, as well as food price volatility) (ADB 2010 ).

Despite an increase in funding for agriculture and natural resources between 2007 and 2011, maintaining the food security remains a low priority in the ADB’s overall strategy. Instead, the ADB takes a “multi-sector” or “agriculture plus” approach to food security, noting that its operations in other sectors, such as transport or infrastructure, also contribute to food security. Oxfam (2014) argues that the ADB’s Results Framework (2008) - the overarching framework for measuring the effectiveness of its work - does not directly capture food security, although it does capture overall development impacts, which might be related to food security. Oxfam’s premise is that these types of indicators are insufficient to give a full picture of the food security of communities. In dialogue with ADB, Oxfam (2014) has developed a set of comprehensive food security indicators, based on existing multi-dimensional food security indicators, used by the Food and Agriculture Organization or the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Oxfam (2014) recommends the application of this novel food security indicator system will assist the ADB’s measurement systems in capturing intended and unintended impacts on household and individual-level food security. Nevertheless, one of the main concern of ADB is how the Oxfam (2014)’s indicator system can be adopted by public agencies in practice. 

In Vietnam, the Integrated Rural Development Sector Project in the Central Provinces (IRDP) is a 168.2 million USD project, which was approved in 2007 and has been funded by ADB. This project consists of 128 sub-projects in 13 central provinces of Vietnam (including: Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Kon Tum, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Ninh Thuan, and Binh Thuan), focusing on the four areas of support: i) rural roads, ii) irrigation, iii) market access and iv) coastal development. The overall impact of the project is expected to enhance rural livelihood opportunities and standard of living for the rural population residing in the Central Region of Viet Nam. This is to be achieved through improved quality, greater coverage and better integration of rural infrastructure. The project has the following components: (i) rural and coastal infrastructure, further divided into (a) rural and coastal infrastructure subprojects, and (b) design support studies and community participation; (ii) capacity building; and (iii) central project management.

Given the importance of the IRDP regarding improving the household’s food security in Vietnam, this project is selected by the Oxfam as an excellent case study to test application the food security indicator system proposed by Oxfam (2014) with the aim at providing suggestions for improving the ADB’s project design and monitoring systems. The Center for Agriculture Policy (CAP) which belongs to the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agricultural and Rural Development (IPSASD) with its strong expertise on policy/project impact assessment (both qualitative and quantitative) and long-term engagement in food security policy of Vietnam is a competent research agency to conduct this study.