This paper attempts to asses the impact of past and presently contemplated policies to maintain food self-sufficiency in a centrally-planned economy. The case of Vietnam is used as an illustration. Experimentation with a system dynamics model of the food production system incorporating relationships concerning soil ecology and agricultural land management policy serves as a basis for this assessment. Short-run policies to increase production are detrimental to maintaining food self-sufficiency in the long-run. A sustainable food production policy must incorporate soil conservation and improvement, control of population and possibly, finding food sources alternative to grain. Although difficult to implement in a market system, such a policy agenda may be feasible in a centrally-planned economy.