The World Bank has approved a US$310 million loan package to improve climate resilience and ensure the sustainable livelihoods of nine Mekong Delta provinces in southern Vietnam.
The project will benefit 1.2 million people affected by climate change, salinity intrusion, coastal erosion, and flooding in those provinces, the World Bank said in a press release on Friday.
“Recent extreme weather conditions in the Mekong River Delta, including drought and salinity intrusion, are negatively affecting the lives of the farmers – most of whom are poor,” said Achim Fock, acting country director for the World Bank in Vietnam.
“We believe this innovative project brings together an effective multi-sectoral model to help farmers adapt agriculture and aquaculture methods to the impacts of climate change.”
With Vietnam’s annual rice exports of $4 billion accounting for more than one-fifth of the global total, the development of the agriculture sector in the Mekong Delta has contributed significantly to the development of Vietnam, as well as to regional food security, according to the World Bank.
However, the region that contributes half of Vietnam’s rice, 70 percent of its aquaculture products, and one-third of the country’s gross domestic product has been identified as one of the deltas most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change as well as upstream development.
The World Bank said the approved Mekong Delta Integrated Climate Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods Project supports better climate-smart planning and improved climate resilience of land and water management practices.
“The project will benefit farmers (especially rice) in the upper delta provinces and aquaculture farm and fisher-folk households along the coastal provinces in the region, including the Khmer ethnic minority people living in Soc Trang and Tra Vinh provinces,” it said.
The project is a critical part of the World Bank’s long-term engagement with the Mekong Delta to strengthen integrated adaptive delta management, bringing together the different sectors and provinces to plan, prioritize, and implement resilient investments.
The estimated total cost for the project is $387 million. The International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, is financing $310 million.