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World Bank to lend Viet Nam $315m to restructure farming, school systems

Update: July, 02/2015 - 09:11
Farmers in Vi Thanh, the capital of Hau Giang Province, use a harvest combining machine on their field. Investment in agricutural mechanisation is a major goal for the Mekong Delta rice industry. —VNA/VNS Photo Huynh Su
WASHINGTON  (VNS) — The World Bank has approved US$315 million in two credits for Viet Nam to support the government's agriculture restructuring plan and help with the revision of school curriculums.

One loan of $238 million will finance the Sustainable Agriculture Transformation Project, which will directly benefit up to 200,000 rice-producing households with around one million people in the Mekong Delta, and 50,000 coffee-producing households with 250,000 people in the Central Highlands.

"Viet Nam is now a major global exporter of rice and coffee. Yet the preoccupation with volume targets has resulted in the extensive use of unsustainable practices and high-volume but low-value exports," Chris Jackson, the World Bank's lead rural development specialist and team leader for the project, said in a press release issued yesterday.

"Sustained agricultural growth will require structural changes in the pattern of production and organisation of the supply chain to benefit small-holder rice and coffee farmers, which is the main goal of this project."

The project will assist rice farmers in the Mekong Delta provinces of Kien Giang, An Giang, Tien Giang, Can Tho, Soc Trang, Dong Thap, and Long An to adopt improved on-farm practices and improve basic production and processing infrastructure for producing high-quality rice by linking them to agribusinesses.

The project will also support sustainable coffee production and rejuvenation in the five major robusta coffee-producing provinces of Lam Dong, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, and Kon Tum.

A second loan of $77 million will finance a programme called Renovation of General Education to raise student learning outcomes by providing assistance to help update and implement a new competency-based curriculum for primary and junior and senior secondary students.

The project will also improve the effectiveness of instruction by creating and disseminating textbooks aligned with the revised curriculum and the assessment system.

"The growth in demand for education and training reflects both traditional values and the concern in Vietnamese households that children acquire the new skills needed to succeed in a knowledge-based economy," Michael F. Crawford, the World Bank's lead education specialist and the project team leader, said.

"The new, improved curriculum developed with the help of the project will enable Vietnamese schools to produce better-educated graduates who can meet the rising skill demands of 21st century employment."—VNS

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