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Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, food safety in Vietnam was a significant public health concern for both government and consumers, particularly for the poor who make up around 17 per cent of the population. The pandemic exacerbated this issue in Vietnam and around the world.

The issue of food safety spans borders due to globalization of the food supply. Availability and affordability of safe, high quality and nutritious food increasingly depends on the production of safe food in developing countries and the stability of global supply chains. The pandemic puts this balance at risk.

The Safe Food for Growth project (SAFEGRO) works with national and regional governments in Vietnam to support compliance with food safety regulations to meet international standards. This work helps poor farmers competitively produce and sell their products with access to domestic and international markets.

In Ethiopia, the onset of the pandemic coincided with planting season, making support for farmers even more important. To mitigate the effects of this disruption, the Agricultural Growth Capacity Development Support Facility (AGP2-CDSF) provided personal protective equipment and COVID-19 prevention packages to more than 5,000 agricultural workers so they could continue their work with local farmers.

AGP2-CDSF also raises awareness about COVID-19 and other health risks associated with livestock and animals. This project and SAFEGRO are funded by Global Affairs Canada and implemented by Alinea.

The farmers and farm workers in Vietnam, Ethiopia and around the world are critical to ensuring safe food reaches local markets and supports global food security. They are our Food Heroes and Alinea joins the international community in recognizing their work on World Food Day 2020.