Mekong Delta strives for science and technology development

The Mekong Delta has only made a few breakthroughs in science and technology despite its great potential for development, said the head of the Ministry of Science and Technology at a conference recently. Organized in Soc Trang Province, its aim was to discuss cooperative opportunities in promoting scientific and technological achievements between provinces in the region.

A researcher selects plant varieties in the lab                                

Although having great potential for the production of agricultural, forestry and fishery products, the Mekong Delta has not yet been able to boost production due to limitations in scientific and technological development.

In an effort to improve agricultural production, since 2006, An Giang, a province of the Mekong Delta, has focused on investing in scientific research.

Using biotechnology to select animal and plant varieties able to adapt to the regional environment and produce high-value crops officials hope the province will reap its potential.

Some work has already been applied and had a significant impact on the global economy and environment as farmers have produced more food but used less pesticides.

Ben Tre, another Mekong Delta province, has some 16,500 scientists and researchers who are focused on transgenic plants and home-bred animals and have successfully created many new hybrid plants and animals with high economic values.

The province has also applied the quality management system standards of ISO 9000:2000 and introduced IT in state management to cut bureaucracy.

With the exception of some achievements, many others are not practical or inapplicable to production, said delegates at the meeting.

They pointed out that there have been many cases in which a number of scientists and researchers have carried out similar work, resulting in duplication, wasted money and time.

To iron out the problem, Dr. Bui Van Quyen, director of the southern representative office of the Ministry of Science and Technology, proposed that all Mekong Delta departments of science and technology should build a common communications channel. Scientists and researchers could keep in contact and keep colleagues throughout the region informed of developments and updated information.

Dr. Quyen further stressed the need for more focus on technology transfer and on the application of technical progress, as well as scientific achievements to boost productivity and quality of produce.

Tran Quoc Thang, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, much appreciated the achievements made by scientists and researchers of the Mekong Delta over the past three years, but said that they are still not in line with the potential of the Mekong Delta and have not yet met the socio-economic demands of the region.

Mr. Thang urged local scientists and researchers to prioritize studies on application and transfer of scientific and technological achievements, especially in agricultural, forestry and fishery fields, and in aquafarm processing.

He also encouraged scientific and technological institutes and organizations in the region to work closely together to promote scientific and technological cooperation between provinces in the region.

Mr. Thang pledged that the Ministry of Science and Technology will continually support provinces in the Mekong Delta to boost scientific and technological achievements in production and living standards, and create favorable conditions for scientific and technological institutes to be adequately equipped for study and research activities.

By Huu Thang – Translated by Phuong Lan

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