|A project to widen the National Route 1A is underway to connect Mekong Delta provinces. The region produces 90 per cent of the country's rice exports, 70 per cent of its fruit and 50 per cent of fisheries output. — VNA/VNS Photo Duy Khuong.
HCM CITY (VNS) — The Mekong Delta area could increase its annual export value from the current US$10 billion to $18 billion within the next three to five years if linkages between the provinces were improved, Dang Huy Dong, deputy minister of the Ministry of Planning and Investment, has said.
Speaking at a seminar in Can Tho on Friday, Dong said that regulations now being drafted by the Southwest Region Steering Committee and the Ministry of Planning and Investment aimed to transform the delta into a key agricultural production area.
The regulations on regional linkages call for further development of transport, irrigation and infrastructure in the delta.
The linkages would also focus on production, processing and sale of agriculture and fishery products, as well as the establishment of brand names and improved quality of the delta's key products.
The draft regulation calls for improved environmental protection, climate-change adaptation and better response to natural disasters.
Experts speaking at the seminar said that Can Tho City and the 12 provinces in the delta must work together to promote development of the region.
The Delta produces 90 per cent of the country's rice exports, 70 per cent of its fruit and 50 per cent of the fishery output.
Nguyen Quang Phong, deputy head of the Southwest Region Steering Committee, said the delta lacked stable economic growth and had not reached its potential, citing a report reviewing 10 years of implementation of the Party's Political Bureau's Resolution 21.
The report said that many investment projects had failed to produce the expected results.
Le Viet Thai of the Central Economic Research and Management Institute said the delta had yet to develop linkage policies even though experts had urged provinces to do so for the last five years.
The delta's provinces and Can Tho City have signed many cooperation commitments but they exist only on paper and have not been implemented.
Phong said many provinces, for example, had not identified their key strengths.
Participants at the seminar said investment and development plans of the provinces had often been drawn up separately, with each province going their own way, causing either an oversupply or shortage of agricultural produce.
They recommended that an agency be responsible for implementing regional linkages and asked the Southwest Region Steering Committee to play an important role. — VNS