According to the government’s report, the land for rice cultivation reduced by 270,000 hectares during ten years (2001-2010), mainly in the Red River Delta, the southeastern region (building industrial zones, new residential areas) and the Mekong Delta (for aquaculture and planting fruit trees).
The report says that the rice area reduced but rice productivity keeps increasing, so the country’s food security is still maintained.
In the report, the government emphasized to strictly preserve the rice area, with 3.81 million hectares by 2015 (308,000 hectares down from 2010).
The National Assembly Standing Committee agreed with the government but it reminded the government of threats from climate change, salt water encroachment, urbanization and industrialization.
National Assembly Chairman, Nguyen Sinh Hung, expressed his concern over the feasibility of this goal. “Rice can be grown in land for orchards, but once land is devoted to industrial zones and residential areas, it cannot become rice land again. It is a thorny problem to maintain the above rice area, particularly in the threat of climate change,” he said.
He questioned the government about the reduction of 308,000 hectares of rice land from now to 2015. “How will this area be used? How much of it will be devoted to industrial activities?”
He analyzed: “If only one third of the above area is devoted to industrial activities, the goal to maintain 3.18 million hectares of rice land will fail because industry will be accompanied with services, transportation, education, healthcare, cultural activities, which all need land. Thus we cannot preserve rice land.”
According to the government’s report, land for industrial activities increased from 23,000 hectares to 100,000 hectares in the 2001-2010 period. However, only 46 percent of the area of industrial zones is occupied.
Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Nguyen Manh Hien, said that it is necessary to devote land to industry to serve the country’s goal to become an industrialized country in the next ten years.
National Assembly Chairman, Nguyen Sinh Hung, agreed, but he emphasized that industrial facilities should use forest and unused land, not rice land. Chung Hoang