The coastal province of Tra Vinh takes marine economic resources for favorable, rapid and stable socioeconomic development, with the aim of becoming a key leader of the Mekong Delta marine economy. Vietnam Business Forum Magazine has an interview with Mr. Dong Van Lam, Chairman of the Provincial People's Committee, on the maritime development strategy of the province. Cong Luan reports.
Could you please tell us more about marine economic resources of Tra Vinh province?
Tra Vinh is a coastal province with a 65-km coastline in the lower Mekong Delta. Tra Vinh sea waters adjoin Southwest waters, the two richest maritime resources by seafood species in Vietnam. Going out further in the East Sea are Truong Sa (Spratly Islands), inhabited by many species of valuable marine creatures, including tuna, snapper and mackerel, with huge development potential for the province’s fishery sector. Given its favorable natural geographic conditions, since its reestablishment, Tra Vinh always determined that marine fishery is a key economic sector of the province supplying raw materials for seafood processing and contributing to local socioeconomic development, national security and sovereignty protection at sea.
The coastal area has five district-level administrative units (Tuyen Hai Town, Duyen Hai, Cau Ngang, Tra Cu and Chau Thanh districts) with great potential for fishery development. In addition to marine resources, Tra Vinh waters have potential for developing sea transport for economic exchanges with domestic coastal provinces and other countries around the East Sea; its coastal sandy areas are suitable for developing wind power and solar power; and many famous landscapes such as Ba Dong Beach, Con Ngheu Island and Truc Lam Zen Monastery offer favorable conditions for maritime tourism development.
Located between Tien and Hau rivers, Tra Vinh has Cung Hau and Dinh An estuaries - two important estuaries of the Mekong Delta to the East Sea. The province also has a good road transport system linked to National Highways 53, 54 and 60 with other major traffic routes.
In general, Tra Vinh's littoral areas are strategically important for marine economy, national security and ecological environment. The province has relatively large fishing grounds, has an increasingly developed offshore fishing fleet, and is capable of building deep-water ports and transshipment terminals for Mekong Delta provinces to trade goods with other provinces and cities in the country and in the world.
After 12 years of executing Resolution 09-NQ/TW dated February 9, 2007 of the Party Central Committee (10th tenure) on the Vietnam Sea Strategy to 2020, could you please tell us about outstanding achievements in marine economic development that Tra Vinh province has made?
On March 24, 2008, the Tra Vinh Provincial Party Committee issued Action Program 16-CTr/TU to enforce Resolution 09-NQ/TW of the Party Central Committee and the Provincial People’s Committee issued the Action Plan to carry out the Action Programs of the Government and the Provincial Party Committee. For 12 years, Tra Vinh province’s marine economy has kept growing. The total production value of coastal localities accounts for 59.8% of the province’s total value and the GDP per capita is 1.1 times higher than the provincial average. The better socioeconomic infrastructure system has positively contributed to promoting local economic growth and stabilizing livelihoods of coastal people.
Specifically, the fishery sector has maintained high growth. In 2018, the seafood production rose 32.2% over 2007 and the production growth rate averaged 9.41% annually in 12 years. The province restructured the fishing vessel fleet to boost commercial fishing by reducing small boats with bigger ones. It supported fishermen to build 11 fishing vessels under the Government’s Decree 67. At present, the locality has 1,191 registered fishing vessels with a total capacity of 143,820 CV (including 325 offshore fishing vessels), which caught 68,385 tons of seafood in 2007 and 78,227 tons in 2018. Littoral saltwater aquaculture continues to be developed with various forms of aquaculture like high-density brackish water shrimp farming that produced positive results.
Agricultural production has been combined with many complex farming models such as shrimp - rice, rice - fish, rice - vegetable to increase productivity and efficiency. Many shoreline households have actively fertilized sandy soil to grow crops. Coastal mangroves have been gradually restored and new protective forests have been planted on alluvial and sandy areas to prevent erosion, break wind, protect the coastline, stabilize the ecological environment and improve people’s livelihoods.
Socioeconomic infrastructure in coastal areas has been upgraded for better development. Duyen Hai Town already fulfilled new countryside construction criteria, with power access, traffic, education, health and communication systems invested synchronously.
Investment attraction results in the province in general and in coastal areas in particular are positive. At present, Tra Vinh province has 338 effective investment projects, including 41 FDI projects with US$3.1 billion of investment capital and 297 DDI projects with VND105,909.84 billion (US$4.6 billion). Particularly, local economic and industrial zones are currently accommodating 79 projects, including 16 FDI projects with US$2.87 billion of investment capital and 63 domestic investment projects with VND99,745.42 billion (US$4.3 billion).
Tra Vinh was chosen by the Government as a key province to develop both fisheries in international trade and develop deep-water ports for the region. How has Tra Vinh province been invested and supported by central authorities to robustly develop the marine economy?
Blessed with advantages for marine economic development, Tra Vinh province always receives central budget for coastal socioeconomic infrastructure development. The province has focused investment on developing aquaculture infrastructure in coastal districts and fishing logistics; operated mooring sites and storm shelters at Cung Hau estuary in Cau Ngang district and Dinh An estuary in Tra Cu district. The province has built transportation systems and embankments to protect people and production, invested and operated passages for large tonnage vessels to enter the Hau River and to travel to the East Sea. These important transportation projects are crucial for social development in southwestern provinces and instrumental to marine economic development.
In addition, the province invested in the cargo port system: Long Duc Port and Duyen Hai Port. In early July 2019, it started construction of Dinh An Port. Tra Vinh province is also home to the Duyen Hai Power Center project invested by the Electricity of Vietnam Group (EVN) in Dinh An Economic Zone. The complex consists of Duyen Hai 1, Duyen Hai 2, Duyen Hai 3 and expanded Duyen Hai 3 plants with a total instalment capacity of 4,400 MW. This project helps generate jobs, increase budget revenue, spur economic growth and ensure national energy security. Particularly, Dinh An Economic Zone is one of eight coastal economic zones prioritized for investment in 2016-2020. The investment value is VND701 billion (US$30 million) in the medium-term 5-year plan of 2016-2020.
To practically realize the goal of turning Tra Vinh into a key marine economic engine of the Mekong Delta, how will the province shape marine economic development in the future?
By 2030, Tra Vinh province will successfully develop marine economic sectors in the following order of priority: (1) Marine aquaculture and commercial fishing; (2) Renewable energy and new marine economic sectors; (3) Tourism and marine services; and (4) Coastal industries. The province will proactively work closely with ministries and central agencies to carry out the maritime development strategy by unlocking all marine potential. It will take advantage of central investment for developing synchronous coastal economic infrastructure, with a focus on Dinh An Economic Zone; successfully build a multi-sector and multi-field coastal economic zone; shape a dynamic economic region and develop such industries as power generation, petrochemical, shipbuilding and other supporting industries; develop logistics services and tourism associated with the port economy, non-tariff areas, new urban and rural residential areas.
In addition, the province will focus on developing marine economy associated with environmental protection, conservation and sustainable development of marine biodiversity; proactively respond to climate change, rising sea and natural disasters; improve people's lives; closely combine socioeconomic development with national defense, security and sovereignty of territorial waters.
Thank you very much!