The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on Tuesday pledged to provide around US$4.5 million in aid for a project to improve the safety of agricultural and aquatic products in Vietnam, Vietnam News Agency reported.
The project aims to enhance Vietnam's monitoring system for agricultural and aquatic product safety. Funding for the three-year project (2011-2014) will come from the Japanese government's non-refundable aid.
Under the project, Japan will transfer technology for food safety monitoring to Vietnam, upgrade the Vietnamese food safety monitoring system and help to train Vietnamese staff.
Taigo Endo, an expert at JICA who was in charge of the project's feasibility study, said Vietnam has food safety-related regulations but enforcement needs improvement.
"Our study shows the lack of a comprehensive and scientific system to monitor the safety of agricultural and aquatic products in Vietnam. Many laboratories are not equipped with high-tech machines for food safety analysis," he said.
Food poisoning is a problem in Vietnam. According to the General Statistics Office, there were 93 food poisoning cases that killed 15 and sickened 4,400 people across the country in October alone.