|Farmland in Ha Noi's Tu Liem District. Scientists fear the continual loss of agricultural land could have wider implications. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Lam
HA NOI (VNS)— Scientists have raised concerns about the loss of 740,000ha of agricultural land in recent years, partly due to industrialisation and modernisation.
Speaking at a meeting to find out solutions for long-term land management and land-use planning, held yesterday in Ha Noi, Associate Professor Vu Nang Dung from the Association of Land Sciences said, "Land also plays an important role in industrialisation and modernisation."
However, he said this was at the expense of farm land used to build industrial zones, infrastructure and urban housing.
Dung said that maintaining existing land areas for growing rice in delta areas and making plans to broaden land area for growing rice in midland and mountainous provinces was necessary to ensure food security.
He said that preventing the movement of farm land into other uses should be the main target of the country's land-use strategy in coming years.
Viet Nam now has about 26.1 million hectares of farm land, including 4.1 million hectares for growing rice.
The scientists at the meeting said the reduction of agricultural land was being made worse by the challenges of a growing population and the impacts of climate changes.
They said that population growth created an increased need for housing and food. The country's population, now about 88 million of people, is forecast to grow to 96 million by 2020 and 108.7 million by 2049.
The scientists said sea-level rises due to climate change would reduce agricultural land in the two biggest deltas of Hong (Red) River and Cuu Long (Mekong) River.
The Mekong Delta is expected to lose about 758,000 hectares of good farm land, equal to about 18.8 per cent of the total farming area in the delta, if the sea level rises 75cm by 2100.
Therefore, participants urged Viet Nam to quickly build a long-term strategy for land-use planning and land management.
Addressing the need to institute effective land management in the long term, Doctor Huynh Dang Hy, from the Viet Nam Urban Planning and Development Association, said that relocating people living in urban areas to northern midland and mountainous provinces, such as Bac Giang, Phu Tho, Thai Nguyen, and Vinh Phuc, was one of the solutions offered.
"However, to do this, the State is advised to give priority for socio-economic development of the provinces," he said.
It should build industrial zones or develop local tourism sector, Hy said.
For central provinces, it was advised to focus on developing seaports and building industrial zones, he said, adding that it needed to avoid areas forecast to be affected by sea level rise. — VNS