HAU GIANG — The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta needs to increase application of technology and invest in human resources and infrastructure to make it a development spearhead, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Viet Thanh has said.
"The region's socio-economic advantages notwithstanding, its people still face much difficulty due to rapid population increase and overexploitation of natural resources," he told a seminar held in Hau Giang Province on Thursday.
"Besides, it now faces new challenges like climate change, saltwater intrusion, and changes in the flow of many rivers caused by irrigation and hydropower projects upstream," he said.
Several participants said shortage of resources and low salaries were major hurdles to research and growth of science and technology.
Nguyen Minh Chau, head of the Southern Fruit Research Institute, said his institute regularly transfered advanced technologies to farmers, but the benefits did not match expectations since the funds needed to deploy them were lacking.
For instance, new strains of vegetable have been certified by official agencies, but there was not enough money to carry out trials, he said.
"Without trials, how can these vegetables be popularised?"
Dr Nguyen Thanh Phuong of Can Tho University said investment in fisheries research was not commensurate with the sector's importance.
As a result, the number of research projects in the sector remained limited and mostly focused on resolving problems, he said, and thus technology did not play an important role in boosting the sector's development.
Scientists participating in the conference spoke about the importance of science and technology in growing rice under the large-scale model being developed in the region, and fisheries production under the co-operation model.
They also spoke about developing irrigation in a manner that factors in climate change and rise in sea levels.
Le Van Banh, head of the Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute, said the large-scale model for rice was appropriate for simultaneously applying science and technology and adopting mechanisation.
The model was also the premise for creating rice-growing zones, he said.
The application of technology in large-scale rice fields helped reduce production costs by VND721 per kilogramme on a 20,000-ha area in An Giang Province during the last crop, he revealed.
The seminar was organised by the ministry and Hau Giang People's Committee. — VNS