Mekong Delta proves its fertility

Ha Noi, Jan. 7 (VNA) -- The Mekong river delta is providing more than half of Viet Nam's total rice crop, helping ensure food security and increase rice exports.

The delta has earned more than USD 1 billion from exporting about 4.5 million tonnes of rice, or 2.1 times more than 1995, in the past four years, the agricultural ministry reports.

The ministry says that last year the delta produced 17.1 million tonnes of rice, about 4.27 million tonnes higher than 1996 and 350,000 tonnes above the figure set in the yearly plan, despite repeated natural disasters.

The delta's rice area has been expanded to almost four million hectares, an increase of 730,000 hectares against 1995. This helped it gain USD 650 million from rice exports in 2000.

The delta's orchards have have increased by 16,000 hectares, its sugarcane by 100,000 hectares, coconut by 120,000 hectares and beans by 40,000 hectares since 1995.

Water surface earmarked for developing aquatic products totals 290,480 hectares, about 12 percent more than 1995. Aquatic products have been widely cultivated in Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Soc Trang, Kien Giang and Ben Tre provinces.

The delta has invested VND 3,300 billion in building 105 irrigation projects, including 60 already-completed projects in the Long Xuyen quadrangle, Dong Thap Muoi (Plain of Reeds), southern areas of the Mang Thit river and western regions of the Hau river since 1996.--VNA