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Delta to restructure agricultural sector

Update: January, 17/2014 - 08:47
Last year, the delta produced more than 24.8 million tonnes of paddy, up 500,000 tonnes against 2012, and more than 3.4 million tonnes of seafood, up 4 per cent against 2012.— Photo khoahoc

HCM CITY (VNS)— Although the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta achieved a high economic growth rate last year, the area still needs to restructure its agricultural sector to attain competitiveness, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has said.

Speaking at a seminar held in Can Tho on Wednesday, Ninh said that the delta's provinces should review production plans and focus on products in high demand.

In addition, more farmers should switch to high-value crops and reduce the number of rice fields, he said.

Last year, the delta produced more than 24.8 million tonnes of paddy, up 500,000 tonnes against 2012, and more than 3.4 million tonnes of seafood, up 4 per cent against 2012.

However, the delta's key produce, including rice, tra fish, shrimp and fruit, continue to lack high competitiveness, according to participants at the seminar.

For example, farmers suffer a loss of about VND1,000 per kilogramme of tra fish because of the high cost of input materials and the low selling prices for the fish.

Transport infrastructure as well as labour quality and training are other major problems in the delta, meeting participants said.

Speaking at the meeting, Nguyen Phong Quang, deputy head of the Southwest Region Steering Committee, said he had asked the Government to issue more government bonds to implement the delta's major projects, particularly the Quan Chanh Bo Canal that would enable sea vessels to enter the Hau River.

Quang has also petitioned the Government to resume the construction of the Trung Luong – My Thuan Expressway project, which is urgently needed to improve socio-economic development in the delta.

At the seminar, the steering committee said the delta's 2014 goal would be a 9-10 per cent economic growth rate and US$11 billion in export value.

The committee said that it also aimed to reduce the number of poor households from 7.2 per cent in 2013 to 6 per cent this year.

Last year, the delta achieved an economic growth rate of 9 per cent, two times higher than the national rate.

Also last year, the number of poor households in the delta fell by 2 per cent, while the rate was less than 2 per cent in the country. — VNS

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