At the conference (Source: VNA)

Can Tho (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh requested the southwestern region to accelerate agricultural restructuring while chairing a meeting of the Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region in Can Tho city on December 11.

Regional authorities should adjust production plans on the basis of market demand and increase connectivity among localities in the region and beyond, he said, adding that ministries and agencies should provide the latest market information to local businesses, helping them expand market and develop farm produce trademarks.

He urged localities to promote the application of scientific and technological advances, build a new cooperative model connecting businesses and farmers, and ramp up transport and economic infrastructure in support of agriculture.

Agencies concerned, particularly the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, were asked to pay more attention to dealing with issues related to climate change.

Localities should speed up the progress of new rural development in tandem with sustainable poverty reduction, while rallying resources to provide better care for the poor as the New Year is coming, the Deputy PM said.

According to the steering committee, the regional economy will grow by an estimated 7.8 percent this year with agro-forestry-fisheries accounting for 33 percent.

The rice output would be 25.7 million tonnes, up 430,000 tonnes from 2014. As of November 2015, the region exported 6.24 million tonnes of rice and earned 2.65 billion USD, up 3.6 percent in volume and down 5 percent in value.

The total seafood production reached 3.8 million tonnes, a 6.5 percent increase annually.

In the new rural development drive, four districts and towns have been recognised as new-style rural areas and 233 out of the total 1,260 communes have met all 19 criteria for the status.

Progresses have also been seen in industry, trade and services, and the national defence-security and social order have been maintained.

Next year, the region strives to increase its gross domestic product by 7.8 percent and collect more than 50.3 trillion VND (2.28 billion USD) for the State budget, a 7.7 percent rise from 2015.-VNA