Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the working session with Soc Trang officials on April 23 (Photo: VNA)

Soc Trang (VNA) – The Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang should expand the cultivation of high-yield rice varieties and fruit trees of its strength, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has told provincial officials.

At the working session on April 23, he elaborated that each hectare of green-skin grapefruit and King orange here reportedly generates an economic value 10 times higher than that of one hectare of rice.

The farming of cattle on a large scale, which is a traditional practice of local residents, is also an advantage of Soc Trang as the global demand for beef is big, he said, considering this another measure to reduce poverty that is still high among ethnic minorities.

He asked the province to strive to become a shrimp production hub of the Mekong Delta while paying more attention to industrial development to create more jobs. He also highlighted the need to develop renewable energy – another advantage of Soc Trang.

Representatives from ministries and central agencies said Soc Trang has developed many high-yield rice varieties, 10,000 dairy cows, and 40,000 hectares of brackish water surface for shrimp farming – the largest area in Vietnam.

PM Phuc said as it is one of the three most disadvantaged provinces in the Mekong Delta, Soc Trang should pay more heed to encouraging start-ups and improving human resources quality.

The number of businesses here is just one in every 565 people, compared to the national average of 1/140. While infrastructure hasn’t been developed well enough, the province ranks 40th among the 63 provinces and cities in terms of favourable public administrative procedures.

The Government leader suggested Soc Trang capitalise on its own advantages that cannot be found in other localities amid limited resources. It should be more active and creative to find out the growth momentum for itself, instead of waiting for support from the Government.

He promised that more autonomy will be granted to local administration so that they can design their province’s development plans to fully tap local potential.

Soc Trang is home to nearly 1.3 million people, about 65.2 percent of which are Kinh people, another 28.9 percent are Khmer ethnics, and the remaining 5.9 percent are from the Hoa ethnic group.

In 2016, it attracted 1.13 million tourists, including more than 34,000 foreigners, and recorded 339 new businesses, raising the total number of enterprises to 2,366. The household poverty rate declined to 15 percent under the multidimensional poverty criteria.

However, due to severe impacts of drought and saltwater intrusion, the province suffered total loss of almost 1 trillion VND (44 million USD) last year, leading to an economic growth rate of 5.22 percent – lower than the target of 5.62 percent, statistics show.

Also on April 23, PM Phuc visited the Thanh Tin food processing factory in Soc Trang city and a shrimp farm of the Khanh Sung Co. Ltd in Dai Tam commune of My Xuyen district.

On April 22, he attended a ceremony marking 25 years since the re-establishment of Soc Trang province.-VNA