The World Bank (WB)’s Board of Directors have approved two credit packages worth a combined 315 million USD to assist Vietnam’s agricultural restructuring and general education reform, according to the WB in Vietnam.

Of the total, 238 million USD will be allocated to a project to renovate the agriculture sector sustainably, which is expected to directly benefit 200,000 rice-growing households with about 1 million people in the Mekong Delta and another 50,000 coffee producing households of about 250,000 people in the Central Highlands.

The project supports Government efforts to reform the agriculture sector, especially in the two important sub-sectors of rice and coffee, said Chris Jackson, the World Bank’s Lead Rural Development Specialist and team leader for the project.

He said Vietnam is now a major global exporter of rice and coffee, yet the preoccupation with volume targets has resulted in the extensive use of unsustainable practices and high-volume but low-value exports. Sustained agricultural growth will require structural changes in the pattern of production and organisation of the supply chain to benefit small-holder rice and coffee farmers, which is the main goal of this project.

The project will assist rice farmers in the Mekong Delta provinces of Kien Giang, An Giang, Tien Giang, Can Tho, Soc Trang, Dong Thap and Long An to adopt improved farming practices and improve basic production and processing infrastructure for producing high-quality rice by linking them to agribusinesses.

The project also will support sustainable coffee production and rehabilitation in the five major Robusta coffee-producing provinces of Lam Dong, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai and Kon Tum.

A second credit package of 77 million USD will finance the renovation of a general education project to raise student learning outcomes by providing assistance to help update and implement a new competency-based curriculum for primary, lower-secondary and upper-secondary students.

The project also will improve the assessment system and instruction effectiveness by creating and disseminating textbooks aligned with the revised curriculum.-VNA