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The Mekong Delta

Tuyet L. Cosslett () and Patrick D. Cosslett ()

Chapter Chapter 1 in Water Resources and Food Security in the Vietnam Mekong Delta, 2014, pp 3-21 from Springer

Abstract: Abstract The Mekong River Delta within Vietnam is located at the southern tip of the country and is described as a vast triangular plain of about 40,519 square kilometers (km2), accounting for 12.24 % of the Vietnam’s total area of 331,051 km2. One side of the triangle forms the border with Cambodia to the north, and the other two sides are surrounded by the South China Sea to the southeast and the Gulf of Thailand to the west, with a coastline of about 600 km. The Mekong Delta of Vietnam (hereinafter referred to as Mekong Delta or simply the Delta) is drained by two main tributaries of the Mekong River, the Mekong and the Bassac, also known in Vietnam as the Tien River and the Hau River, respectively. For hundreds of years these two tributaries have been the lifeblood of the Mekong Delta providing freshwater resources and food security to its people. How to manage these water resources for developing a sustainable, intensive water-based economy and providing food security to the region and country will be the main challenge facing the Delta. The Mekong Delta comprises Can Tho City and 12 provinces: Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Vinh Long, Dong Thap, An Giang, Kien Giang, Hau Giang, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu, and Ca Mau. Can Tho was a former province until 2004 when it was split into two administrative units: Can Tho became a municipality at the province level, and Hau Giang was established as a new province. Can Tho is the smallest of the 13 administrative units in terms of land area, rural population, land use for forestry, and caught aquatics products. But it is the most populous urban center with the highest population density in the Mekong Delta Region. Of the twelve provinces, An Giang and Kien Giang stand out in many economic indicators. According to Vietnam’s 2009 Population and Housing Census, An Giang ranked first in population in general, and rural population in particular, farmed aquatic production and farmed fish production, rice production and rice yield. Kien Giang was the biggest province with the largest land use for agriculture and planted area paddy, and ranked first in caught aquatic production. Can Tho City and the 12 provinces will be examined individually in the next chapter. This chapter will describe the Mekong Delta as the sixth region of Vietnam, its climate, its natural conditions and resources, its population, its standards of living, its labor force, and its agricultural economy. The study will focus primarily on rice culture and aquaculture because they are the backbone of the economy and unlike other industries they depend totally on the water quality and availability of the Mekong River for survival and growth. In fact, the whole Delta lives on water: freshwater from the Hau and Tien Rivers, rainfall water from the sky, and saline water from the sea. Unless noted otherwise, statistical data for the Mekong Delta’s economy in this chapter were collected from the General Statistics Office (GSO 2000–2010) of Vietnam and the socioeconomic statistics of the Mekong Delta provinces and cities for a 10-year period (2000–2010) to provide a meaningful and significant analysis of the economic development of the Mekong Delta region. We selected 2000 because it was not only the first year of the new millennium but also the year when the United States signed a bilateral trade agreement with Vietnam in July.

Keywords: Foreign Direct Investment; Mangrove Forest; Labor Force Participation Rate; Average Annual Growth Rate; Mekong Delta (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-02198-0_1

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