Mekong Delta cities and provinces are calling for large-scale investments to restore a number of floating markets such as Cai Be in Tien Giang province, Cai Rang in Can Tho city, Nga Bay in Hau Giang province, and Nga Nam in Soc Trang province.

Floating markets are a special feature of the delta, offering visitors the chance to see dozens of boats selling agricultural products and flowers. However, only a few of the markets have retained their unique characteristics due to the development of road transport decreasing the number of trade boats.

The number of trade boats operating at the Cai Rang market, for example, has halved from its original 500 varieties, and the Nga Bay floating market was moved 10 kilometres away to Ba Nga to ensure marine transport safety, but affected trade activities between sellers and customers.

Most of the markets are busy only at the end of the lunar year or the arrival of spring due to high demand for farm produce.

The restoration and preservation of the markets as a bustling trade site and striking tourist destination require thorough study and reasonable investment.

Most recently, the Hau Giang provincial People’s Committee approved a project preserving the Nga Bay floating market with a total cost of over 35 billion VND (1.7 million USD).

The project will be carried out between 2015 and 2017 including the construction of pavements along the riverbank, wharves, drainage and water and electricity supply systems.

In 2014, the Cai Rang district People’s Committee of Can Tho proposed a plan to upgrade the Cai Rang floating market from 2014 to 2016 necessitating 26 billion VND (1.3 million USD).

The project aims to build onshore farm produce sites, floating restaurants and other public facilities to serve tourists.

Meanwhile, Soc Trang province called for 2 million USD to turn the Nga Nam floating market into an ecotourism site and trade centre in the delta.-VNA