Workers tending a large community mangrove forest south of Ho Chi Minh City. The wood produced in this 25,000 hectare forest is used for making charcoal for the stoves of Ho Chi Minh City. - - General: General. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam has a population of 65 million and covers an area of 329,556 sq. kms., most of which has been devastated by decades of war. The Government of Vietnam is now trying to develop the country by boosting agricultural production and generally raising the standards of living. Apart from flagging food output, a major problem facing Vietnam is the increasingly rapid loss of its once abundant tropical forests, now diminishing at an estimated rate of 240,000 ha. a year. However, the country is receiving assistance from bilateral programmes of individual nations, international aid efforts and from the development agencies of the United Nations system. Among the latter is the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), with headquarters in Rome, a country office in Hanoi and a Regional Office in Bangkok. FAO offers assistance through a variety of development projects in Viet Nam including those funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), "Trust Fund" projects financed by one or more of the richer of FAO's 158 member nations, and short-term projects come under the FAO Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP). The TCP was launched by FAO's Director-General, Edouard Saouma, in 1976 and is funded under the Organization's Regular Programme.