The Mekong Delta localities have set a target of increasing the value of their aquatic products in 2014 to 46 trillion VND (2.16 billion USD), an increase of 4.1 percent against last year’s figure.

According to Nguyen Phong Quang, deputy head of the Steering Committee for the Southwestern Region, to realise the goal, the regional localities plan to enlarge their aquaculture zone to nearly 800,000 ha, to raise the region’s output to 2.4 million tonnes.

In the first five months of this year, the localities assigned an area of nearly 400,000 ha to farming and harvested over 1 million tonnes of products, equivalent to 42 percent of the plan set for the year, raking in 19 trillion VND (893 million USD).

Main aquatic products of the region are prawn, white-leg shrimp, tra fish and other freshwater fish. Farming zones are concentrated in the provinces of Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Kien Giang, Soc Trang, Tra Vinh, Ben Tre, An Giang, Dong Thap, Vinh Long and Can Tho city.

The localities expanded hatching models in line with the standards such as the SQF 1000CM (food safety and quality), the Vietnam Good Agricultural Practice (VietGap) and the Global Good Agricultural Practice (GlobalGAP), while focusing on improving the quality of employees to serve the development of the sector.

Regional authorities paid attention to supporting enterprises in renovating technology in order to diversify products and meet the strict requirements of international markets.

The region also plans to upgrade its irrigation system for aquaculture activities, while intensifying the management of water environment in farming zones.

Meanwhile, the provinces put in place food safety management systems and more thoroughly checked the origin of aquatic products as required by the world market. Trade promotion was also boosted.

Last year, the region reached 2.2 million tonnes of aquaculture products, equivalent to 92.5 percent of the total output of southern provinces, including 310,000 tonnes of prawn and over 1 million tonnes of tra fish.-VNA