The Mekong Delta region needs over 2. 6 trillion VND (124 billion USD) to develop its aquaculture between now and 2020.

The information was revealed at a recent seminar to promote investment in the sector held in Rach Gia city, Kien Giang province by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Southwestern Steering Committee and the provincial authorities.

Priority fields will be tra fish, shrimp and molluse development and diversification of aquatic products, breeding, infrastructure modernisation, and establishment of fisheries centres in Can Tho city and Kien Giang province.

The region will also pay attention to vocational training and technology development to serve its economic development.

Participants stressed the need to create links among regional localities while encouraging investment in fish catching and farming in the Mekong Delta.

It is necessary to build sustainable and high added value projects for foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction and issue preferential policies to draw FDI and official development assistance (ODA), said Dinh Thi Thanh Huyen, a representative from the agricultural ministry.

Attendees also gave opinions on what must be done to further promote the development of the regional aquaculture on par with the region’s potential and strength.

The Mekong Delta province, with its huge potential for the aquatic development, contributes importantly to the country’s seafood production and export with the two main products of shrimp and tra fish.

The region has a total farming area of over 727,200 ha with an annual output of 2.2 million tonnes, accounting for 70 percent of the country’s total area and 65 percent of the total production, respectively.

Its aquatic exports make up over 35 percent of the agriculture production value and 12.35 percent of the production value of all economic sectors in the Mekong Delta.

The Mekong Delta region comprises 12 provinces and one centrally-run city with a total area of 40,000 square kilometres and a population of 18 million. It is the largest granary and the major aquaculture development region of the country.-VNA