Good Food for Cities

Towards a safe and sustainable food system in Da Nang

April 4, 2023

Rikolto works with the city of Da Nang, to increase consumers’ access to safe food and promote the use of sustainable production techniques to ensure a more sustainable and inclusive food system in Vietnam.

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City of Da Nang

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Supporting Vietnam's rapidly growing cities and smallscale farmers in providing quality, safe and sustainable food.

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From 2017 until 2021


Although modern markets are increasingly selling traceable food with proper quality assurance, the city is still struggling to ensure that reliable safe food is supplied to traditional markets, the main shopping place for the majority of city dwellers.

Another challenge is the low per capita yearly income of vegetable farmers around Da Nang which revolves around 36 million VND (approx. 1,330€). This low figure is mostly due to the lack of opportunities to participate in higher value food chains such as those for safe vegetables. Affordable quality assurance to enable farmers to access safe food markets is largely unavailable, leaving few incentives for them to invest in safe production.

Furthermore, Da Nang is unable to produce most of the food that it consumes. About 80-85% of the total demand for animal husbandry products is met by imports from other provinces. Only 100 ha of land are cultivated for vegetable production, supporting less than 10% of the city’s demand with only 3 production areas being VietGAP certified. Because of this shortage of land, 140,000 tons of vegetables are imported each year from other provinces and countries.

Ensuring consumers' access to quality safe food and making sure that smallscale farmers are involved in safe food chains are among the priorities of our collaboration with Da Nang.

Our strategies and priorities

Based on the joint planning workshop, we decided to focus our resources on the following priorities:

  • To support the development of a food smart city strategy for Da Nang that supports consumers’ access to safe food and smallholder farmers’ participation in safe food value chains;
  • To foster a more enabling environment for Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) in Da Nang through the establishment of local PGS in the city and the submission of a PGS regulation to Da Nang People’s Committee for the inclusion of PGS in municipal policies;
  • To raise consumers’ awareness on the importance of sustainable and safe food consumption, and on best practices to handle and process food safely at home through a city-wide communication campaign;
  • To collaborate with local consumer protection organisations in order to build their capacity to better represent and inform consumers on food-related issues;
  • To facilitate sustainable linkages between actors in Da Nang’s food chains by supporting the development of a learning community for safe food producers, and facilitating market linkage between producers and markets, both modern and traditional.

Rikolto’s International Food Smart Cities Cluster

The Food Smart Cities Cluster is an initiative that brings together the cities of Ghent (Belgium), Da Nang (Vietnam), Solo (Indonesia), Quito (Ecuador), Tegucigalpa (Honduras), and Arusha (Tanzania), with 6 regional Rikolto offices, RIMISP (the Latin American Centre for Rural Development) and the RUAF Foundation.

The Food Smart Cities Cluster develops sustainable models of cooperation in multi-stakeholder partnerships on a variety of issues such as rural urban linkages, sustainable business models between actors in the food chain, sustainable catering, healthy food for school canteens, and consumers’ access to safe, quality food.

Our interventions take place at 3 different levels. First, we pilot concrete projects with our partner cities on strategy design, urban and peri-urban food chains, sustainable catering in schools, implementation of cities’ food policy, etc. Second, we encourage learning and expertise sharing through peer-to-peer monitoring and knowledge exchange among members of the network and beyond. Third, we strive to influence the international agenda in favour of more sustainable urban food systems and inclusive rural-urban value chains by leveraging the evidence gathered in the field to feed discussions at international platforms.

A systemic perspective

Rikolto uses CIAT’s definition of sustainable food systems:

Sustainable food systems are those food systems that aim at achieving food and nutrition security and healthy diets while limiting negative environmental impacts and improving socio-economic welfare. Sustainable food systems are therefore protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as human well-being and social equity. As such they provide culturally acceptable, economically fair, affordable, nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy foods in a way that balances agro-ecosystem integrity and social welfare.

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We have achieved the following results:

  1. A food smart city strategy and action plan is adopted by the authorities and implemented within Da Nang;
  2. Safe food consumption by Da Nang citizens has increased, including in lower and middle income groups;
  3. Consumers adopt safer food handling and processing behaviours;
  4. Da Nang’s municipal governance on food safety is strengthened;
  5. Safe food supply chains are established in traditional markets to bring quality food at consumers’ most popular shopping places;
  6. Participatory Guarantee Systems are integrated within the City’s food and agriculture policies and constitute an integral part of its strategy to supply reliable safe food to consumers;
  7. Da Nang actively contributes to the activities of Rikolto’s International Food Smart Cities Cluster by providing evidence of successful policies and initiatives for a more sustainable and inclusive urban food system;
  8. Da Nang becomes an example of a food smart city in Vietnam, inspiring other cities in the country to follow suit.

Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Rikolto in Vietnam’s food smart cities interventions will specifically contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals:

SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

  • Target 1.7. Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions

SDG 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

  • Target 2.1. By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round
  • Target 2.3. By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment
  • Target 2.4. By 2030, ensure sustainable food production systems and implement resilient agricultural practices that increase productivity and production, that help maintain ecosystems, that strengthen capacity for adaptation to climate change, extreme weather, drought, flooding and other disasters and that progressively improve land and soil quality

SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

  • Target 5.5: Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life

SDG 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

  • Target 11.6: By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
  • Target 11A: Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, per-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning

SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

  • Target 12.1. Implement the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production (10YFP), all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries
  • Target 12.3. By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses

SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

  • Target 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.

SDG 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

  • Target 17.7: Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships


What will we eat tomorrow?

Food smart cities leading the transition to sustainable food

Between March and August 2019, three journalists from the magazine Eos Tracé visited partner cities of Rikolto's Food Smart Cities programme. During these visits, they interviewed more than 130 people and discovered initiatives that make safer, healthier and sustainable food more accessible to citizens. This book tells their stories from 9 cities in Vietnam, Belgium, Tanzania, Indonesia, Ecuador, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Read more

Who do we work with?

Collaboration with Da Nang

In 2017, Da Nang’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and Rikolto signed a Memorandum of Understanding to kick-start their partnership aimed at supporting Da Nang to become a Food Smart City. On 6 and 7 July 2017, Rikolto and Da Nang’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development organised a participatory planning workshop to agree on the main orientations of their 5-year collaboration on Food Smart City. The workshop was attended by representatives of various city departments (Agriculture, Industry & Trade, Health), and representatives of farmer organisations, private sector and civil society. Together, the participants came up with a draft plan to improve the management of food safety in the city, increase safe vegetables supply in Da Nang, and improve consumers’ access and trust in safe food.

Da Nang WU
Vietnam National University of Agriculture


Hoang Thanh Hai

Vegetable and Tea Programme Coordinator

Stories from the ground

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