The Mekong Delta region is striving to raise its annual average per capita income to 37 million VND (roughly 1,740 USD) in 2014, up 6.9 percent from the previous year.

Vietnam’s annual average per capita income was 1,960 USD last year.

To reach the goal, regional provinces will diversify their farm produce and cultivate high-yield and quality trees, especially rice, fruit trees and short-term industrial plants, said the Steering Board for the Southwestern region.

The localities will also focus on growing plants that can be served as materials for industrial production and producing animal feed while heeding aquaculture and agro-fisheries processing.

During the process, production will be combined with environmental protection, firstly mangrove forests, the low-lying area of Dong Thap Muoi, Long Xuyen Quadrangle, the western part of Hau river and Ca Mau peninsula.

Industrial development, especially small and medium-sized industries, has been also included in the plan.

Mekong Delta will tap its gas potential to develop the gas-power-fertiliser sectors, the board said, adding that the region will give more importance to the development of industrial parks and maritime transport.

Other prioritised sectors include trade, service and tourism, particularly eco-tourism.

Kien Giang province’s Phu Quoc island is expected to become an international and trade centre and Can Tho city will be turned into an industrial, trade and service hub that will provide momentum for the whole region.

The Mekong Delta region comprises of 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