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Mekong Delta in the process of agriculture transformation

10:55 | 05/06/2020

There is a need of urgent transformation for Mekong Delta’s agricultural economy in the context of climate change, international economic integration, and negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Recently, Mekong Delta has been strengthening connectivity and cooperation in high-tech agriculture development.

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Mekong Delta plays a key role in ensuring national food security (Photo: Vietnam Economic News)

According to Vietnam Economic News, with 1.5 million hectares of rice, the Mekong Delta plays a key role in ensuring national food security. According to a report by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, in 2020, drought and saltwater intrusion in the region has intensified, but the 2019-2020 winter-spring crop began one month earlier than usual and surpassed expectations.

Mekong Delta provinces planted rice on 1.54 million hectares of land, reaching yield of an estimated 6.98 tonnes per hectare (up 201kg/ha from the previous winter-spring crop) and an output of more than 10.7 million tonnes. In Can Tho City and Dong Thap and An Giang provinces, farmers reached a high yield, sold rice for VND5,300/kg (US$ 0.23) or more, and made a profit rate of 30-40 percent.

While the Covid-19 pandemic is severely affecting and disrupting all production and trading activities, the Mekong Delta’s bumper winter-spring rice crop has met national food security demand and provided rice for export. The delta provinces are expected to produce more than four million hectares of rice with an average yield of almost 6.1 tonnes/ha and an estimated output of 24.3 million tonnes in 2020, up 63,000 tonnes from the previous year.

mekong delta in the process of agriculture transformation
Agricultural economy transformation has become an urgent need for the Mekong Delta (Photo: Environment and Resources News)

Economist Dr. Tran Huu Hiep said that in recent years, agricultural economy transformation has become an urgent need for the Mekong Delta in the context of climate change, international economic integration, and adverse market changes caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, to not only improve farmers’ income but also promote development.

In accordance with major government policies, Mekong Delta provinces and cities have been strengthening connectivity and cooperation in high-tech agriculture development. They have replicated value chain-oriented and ‘big field’ production models pertaining to development of the cooperative economy and complete production chains (including raw material supply, production and sales). Localities have also been cooperating with each other in planning crops and plant and animal structures in accordance with market demand.

Provinces in the region are being urged to adopt short and long-term roadmaps for sustainable development, strengthen the application of science and technology in industry and services, and restructure plant and livestock farming to maximize efficiency. Mekong Delta provinces and cities are expected to contribute to Vietnam’s US$42-billion farm produce export target for 2020, and take opportunities provided by new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs), especially the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) coming into force later this year.

mekong delta in the process of agriculture transformation
Ministries and sectors have actively coordinated with localities to implement large-scale projects (Photo: Environment and Resources News)

Ministries and sectors have actively coordinated with localities to implement large-scale projects on production, processing and consumption of products along the value chain for agricultural goods. Besides, ministries and sectors build mechanisms and policies to prioritize the development of supporting industries for the agricultural economy, the processing industry of agricultural products, especially deep processing, fine processing.

Also, implementing Directive No. 23/CT-TTg to accelerate the implementation of sustainable development of climate-resilient Mekong Delta, the Ministry of Planning and Investment is carefully researching and proposing a separate financial mechanism for the Mekong Delta. The Ministry shall increase central financial support and fiscal responsibility from the Mekong Delta provinces towards a more coordinated infrastructure investment framework for the regional agricultural economy, cited Environment and Resources News.

Besides, in order to support people and businesses in the production and consumption of rice in the Mekong Delta, the Government and the State Bank have issued many credit policies for agricultural and rural development in the region. Commercial banks also balance capital, focus on lending to meet capital needs of enterprises purchasing rice in the Mekong Delta.

The Sustainable Agriculture Transformation Project in Vietnam (VnSAT) funded by the World Bank (WB) has a credit component of 105 million USD to enhance the value chain for the rice and coffee industries in the Mekong River Delta and the Central Highlands. Through nine selected joint stock commercial banks, the capital is intended to lend to businesses to upgrade rice processing technology and agricultural equipments in the Mekong Delta, Lao Dong reported.

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