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3.8 million hectares of rice will be under open plan, not fixed: minister

Vietnam’s agriculture is experiencing a restructuring in order to increase seafood and fruit production, and to decrease rice production.

Vietnam plans to maintain 3.8 million rice-growing areas, but the figure is not fixed, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan said at a workshop on adapting to climate change and sustainably developing the Mekong River Delta held several days ago.

“The story of adapting to climate change is the story of the entire delta, not just of separate provinces in the region,” Hoan said, adding that Vietnam is focusing on increasing the proportion of seafood and fruit, while reducing the proportion of rice.

He cited the program on supporting the Mekong Delta from the World Bank (WB). It is necessary to think about the use of the support package: what will localities and what will the Mekong Delta get from it?

Hoan said he met an Australian businessman who noted that Australians don’t know about Dong Thap, An Giang and CanT ho, but all of them know about the Mekong Delta, because it is  one of the five large deltas in the world.

“Mekong Delta is a brand well known in the world. It is necessary to join forces to take action, not to confront disadvantages, but to activate the ability to adapt  for development,” Hoan said.

At the workshop, representatives from localities shared their concerns about climate change which is getting more complicated. 

The boundary between fresh and salty areas, for example, is changing rapidly. They also supported the shift to a more professional production, especially to re-organize production in a concentrated and high-quality way to improve competitiveness of Vietnam’s farm produce.

World Bank Vietnam Country Director Carolyn Turk commented that the government’s Resolution released in 2015 marked a shift from a climate-defensive approach to the model of taking initiative in living together with nature.

The impact from climate change, sea water level rise, changeable weather and saline intrusion are now considered the new normal in the Mekong Delta.

There have been changes in thinking, vision and approaches in planning at the regional level. 

This includes small farm household and provincial, inter-provincial and entire-delta approaches, as well as short-term to long-term perspectives, and multidisciplinary and integrated approaches.

The foundation of transformation is the Mekong Delta master plan and the master program for agricultural transformation in the region.

At the workshop, WB released a report on switching to green agriculture in Vietnam and a low-carbon rice model. 

The report said that switching to low-carbon rice farming will offer the highest potential for Vietnam to reduce 30 percent of methane by 2030.

Tam An



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