The Mekong Delta city of Can Tho is making aquaculture the driving force for its agricultural sector, aiming to increase the value of aquatic exports to 2 billion USD by 2020, according to the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

To this end, Can Tho plans to implement 12 aquaculture projects in two main farming areas, Director of the department Pham Van Quynh said.

About 16,000ha in Thot Not district, Vinh Thanh district, and islets on the Hau River, is designated as farming area for giant river prawns, tra and basa fish, and a few other freshwater fish species. Meanwhile, the second farming area, covering 10,000ha in Vinh Thanh, Co Do, Phong Dien and neighbouring districts, will raise pangasius and freshwater fish.

The city aims to increase its aquatic output to 270,000 tonnes by 2020, up by 90,000 tonnes compared to 2013, Quynh added.

He said in order to meet the local demand for juvenile fish for breeding, Can Tho will build a large-scale juvenile fish farm in Vinh Thanh and 100 smaller farms by 2016, increasing the number of farms for juvenile fish to 130 by 2020.

Additionally, the city will develop and apply advanced technology and expand the application of VietGAP, GlobalGAP, and SQF 1000CM standards in aquaculture.

An additional 16 processing factories that meet ISO and HACCP standards are also going to be built in an effort to increase the city’s aquatic exports to 120,000 tonnes by the end of 2015 and 180,000 tonnes by 2020, the official said.

Quynh noted that the city will cooperate closely with other Mekong Delta localities to source seafood products for export.

So far this year, Can Tho has generated 320 million USD from aquatic exports,fullfing 65 percent of its yearly target.-VNA