A worker checks an agricultural irrigation station in the southern province of Tay Ninh’s Chau Thanh District (Photo:VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– The agricultural irrigation systems need to switch their operations from administrative subsidy mechanisms to market mechanisms in order to meet the goals of responding to climate change and the restructuring of the agricultural sector.

 Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hoang Van Thang made the statement at a conference in Hanoi on August 26 to discuss the challenges arising from climate change and the requirements of agricultural restructuring.

Thang said that the core of switching the operation of irrigation systems to a market mechanism was to mobilise the participation of citizens and businesses and turn water into an essential goods that is associated with social security and food security

“The irrigation system across the country has not received proper investment,” Thang said, adding that many projects have been seriously degraded.

“To meet development requirements in the current context, the sector needs to improve its management and accelerate the application of scientific advances in construction,” he said.

The Deputy Minister urged the sector to promote the participation of the private sector and the application of science and technology in developing irrigational works.

He noted that many existing irrigation works were only designed to cater to small and individual agricultural production, which failed to meet the requirements of a diversified and modernised agricultural sector.

Deputy Director of the Water Resources Directorate, Nguyen Van Tinh, said that there is a need to improve the operational efficiency of irrigation systems as well as to promote the participation of the private sector to mobilise different resources into irrigation services.

"The implementation of the price mechanism will change many people’s perception of irrigation, help users understand the nature of the goods and raise the practice of water saving,” he said.

Vietnam now has thousands of irrigation works with more than 6,600 reservoirs, 10,000 electric pumping stations, 5,500 large irrigation drains, 234,000km of canals and nearly 26km of dikes. The irrigation system serves 7.5 million hectares of rice, 1.7 million hectares of crops, and supplies 1.6 billion cu.m of water for daily life and industry.-VNA