Ministry wants Gov’t bonds for irrigation projects
By Ngoc Hung - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is seeking VND279.5 billion worth of government bonds to develop an irrigation system across the Mekong Delta.
In a document just forwarded to the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Ministry of Finance, the agriculture ministry said such an irrigation system would help expand farming areas in the country’s rice basket.
The budget will help Mekong Delta provinces such as Dong Thap, An Giang, Tien Giang and Ben Tre construct their canal systems. Meanwhile, Bac Lieu and Soc Trang province will be able to develop drainage systems to control saltwater intrusion.
The fund will also be used for completing the second phase of Bao Dinh irrigation project in Tien Giang Province which once in place will help expand the farming areas by an additional 20,000 hectares in Tien Giang and 13,000 hectares in Long An Province.
The irrigation development is part of the master plan that the Southern Institute for Water Resource Planning has mapped out to help the Mekong Delta response to rising sea levels and salinity intrusion, said Nguyen Ngoc Anh, head of the institute.
This institute is now undertaking climate change adaptation measures in seven Mekong Delta provinces in an effort to attain sustainable agricultural production and rural development. The project requires nearly US$2.1 million including a US$1.6 million in non-refundable aid provided by Japan.
The Mekong Delta is among the world’s five regions most vulnerable to climate change. Therefore, irrigation and embankment systems must be built across the region in order to secure its total rice growing area of 1.78 million hectares.
The Southern Institute for Water Resource Planning calculates the Mekong Delta will need VND171 trillion to develop its irrigation system between now and 2050 in case the sea level rises 30-50 cm.