The Asian Development Bank has approved a US$108 million loan for a project to upgrade rural roads and irrigation systems in some of Vietnam’s poorest areas.
The project targets 15 mountainous provinces in northern Vietnam where more than one in four families live in poverty.
It will upgrade 600 kilometers of rural roads and irrigation systems for 12,400 hectares of farmland.
“This project will help farming communities boost their rice yield by 25 percent, and make it possible for them to respond to market demands and diversify to more profitable crops,” said David Salter, Rural Development Specialist in ADB’s Southeast Asia Department.
“Travel time, effort and costs will be reduced by an average of 55 percent while transport reliability will be increased enabling farmers strategic marketing options,” he said.
While Vietnam has three million hectares of farmland that is equipped with irrigation facilities, one million hectares of this land is not currently being irrigated.
Many irrigation schemes are in need of rehabilitation, and one third of the country’s 50,000 kilometers of irrigation canals are not lined, resulting in significant water loss.
“Improved irrigation and water management is critical for Vietnam’s food security, particularly in the face of rising food demands and the worsening effects of climate change,” said Salter.
In northern mountainous areas of Vietnam, less than 10 percent of roads are currently paved, while distances to social services are greater than the national average.
The ADB-supported project will also upgrade ten rural commune markets to bolster local commerce.