Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh has urged Mekong Delta localities to speed up the economic restructuring, focusing on the agriculture sector.

He made the request at a conference in Can Tho city on July 9 to review the operation of the Steering Committee for the Southwest Region in the first half of 2014 and define directions for the rest of the year.

Deputy PM Ninh, who heads the Committee, said regional localities should do more to foster the connectivity between farmers and businesses to make it easier for the consumption of local farm produce.

The localities should also enhance the application of high technology in production to increase product quality and value, he said, adding that quality is the main factor allowing local farm produce to enter larger markets in the world.

During the conference, Deputy PM Ninh praised the achievements that the Mekong Delta localities made in the first six months of this year, with many socio-economic indications higher than the same period last year.

According to a report at the event, the region’s gross domestic products reached 237.7 trillion VND (11.17 billion USD), representing an economic growth of up to 9 percent.

Industrial production also rose by 6.6 percent year on year, while exports increase 11.4 percent to 5.4 billion USD, said the report.

At the same time, total social investment reached 99.6 trillion VND (4.68 billion USD), up 12 percent against the same period last year, it added.

However, Deputy PM Ninh also pointed to a number of difficulties, including poor infrastructure system and unsustainable development.

He asked the Steering Committee for Southwest Region to coordinate with ministries, sectors and regional localities to promote agriculture product sales for farmers and realise support policies for people from ethnic minority groups.

The committee was also assigned to work closely with relevant agencies to organise the Mekong Delta Economic Cooperation Forum later this year in Soc Trang province.-VNA