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Delta has yet to make most of vast economic potential

Update: February, 02/2012 - 10:21

HCM CITY — Experts have urged the Government to take further steps to help the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta region to achieve its great potential.

Nguyen Van Sanh, head of the Mekong Delta Development Research Institute under Can Tho University, said the Government should have specific mechanisms for developing the Delta, considered the country's largest area of rice and fruit cultivation, and aquaculture and fishing.

With a coastline of more than 700km and bordering the East Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, the 3.96 million-hectare Delta produces more than 50 per cent of the country's food.

The Delta, which accounts for 12 per cent of Viet Nam's total area, turns out more than 90 per cent of the country's total rice exports, with an annual rice export value of US$3 billion.

The Delta also produces more than 60 per cent of the country's seafood, or 80 per cent of the country's seafood exports, valued at $3 billion annually.

"Despite having great potential, the Delta has poor economic infrastructure and lacks quality human resources," Sanh said. "In addition, small-scale production and poor production techniques are the reasons for poverty and slow development in the Delta."

The Delta has advantages in producing rice, fruit, seafood, husbandry and other crops, but its products have low quality, and high and unstable production costs, making them difficult to compete. Zoning plans are also poor.

"When zoning plans and investment for zoning plans were not effective, it lead to waste in using natural resources and human resources," he said.

These challenges and wastefulness would make it difficult for the Delta to develop sustainably, especially when the country integrated deeper into the world economy, he said.

To meet the delta's development demand, it should strengthen investment in infrastructure, especially transport infrastructure and high- quality human resources, he said.

The Government should have specific mechanisms for developing the Delta.

There should be better cooperation between the Delta provinces and Can Tho City as well as co-operation between the State, scientists, businesses and farmers.

This would help to develop production and sale of rice, fruit and seafood and improve farmer capacity and their incomes. — VNS

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