AN GIANG (VNS)— Reclaimed more than two decades ago, the Long Xuyen Quadrilateral Region is now a major rice and aquaculture production area.
|The Vinh Te canal plays an important role in releasing flood waters and washing alum from rice fields in the Long Xuyen Quadrilateral Region. — VNS Photo Le Hoang Vu
The region has a total area of about 489,000ha and spans Kien Giang, Can Tho and An Giang provinces in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.
Last year, the region produced more than 4.73 million tonnes of paddy, accounting for 20 per cent of the Delta's total paddy output, compared to 600,000 tonnes in 1988, according to Huynh The Nang, deputy chairman of the An Giang People's Committee.
Nang spoke about the region's socio-economic future at a seminar held in An Giang Province on Thursday.
In 1988, the late Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet decided to reclaim the region, which had more than 50,000ha of land left fallow because of its high-alum soil.
The investment in irrigation systems, dykes and roads were major factors contributing to the successful reclamation of the region, said participants at the seminar.
In the late 90s, the regional authorities dredged the Vinh Te Canal, dug new canals (T4, T5 and T6), and built new flood regulation dams (Tha La and Tra Su) and sluice gates to prevent salt-water intrusion along coastal areas.
The Vinh Te and T5 canals play important roles in helping release floods from and wash alum in rice fields. They also have aided in the expansion of rice cultivation in the Long Xuyen Quadrilateral region.
T5 Canal, which was dug in 1997, was renamed the Vo Van Kiet Canal.
With the development of such infrastructure, more than 50,000ha of formerly alum-rich land has become a fertile area.
Rice cultivation in the region has also increased from one to three crops a year.
However, the region faces many challenges in reaching its full potential.
The quality, value and competitiveness of agricultural products in the region remains low.
Nguyen Ngoc Tran, former deputy chairman of the State Committee of Technology and Science, said: "Rice and aquaculture are the strengths of the region, but the region's localities have not properly invested in rice husking and seafood processing."
In addition, tourism activities and sites are diverse, but they have not been developed properly to attract tourists.
International border gate areas, including Tinh Bien, Vinh Xuong and Xa Xia, also need more attention, according to Tran.
The region is expected to be affected seriously by climate change, rising sea water levels, water flows from upstream areas and hydro-power projects on the Mekong River.
The structure of its agricultural production should be changed to adapt to the changes, Tran said.
Rice accounts for up to 80 per cent of agricultural production value, according to the Cuu Long Delta Development Research Institute.
The seminar was held by the Viet Nam Union of Science and Technology Associations, the Southwest Region Steering Committee, and the provinces of An Giang, Kien Giang and Can Tho. More than 150 people attended. — VNS