Ben Tre economy on fast track after Durian typhoon

In the first 6 months of this year, Ben Tre's economy has increased by 9.49%, in which Group I of industries (including agriculture, forestry and aquaculture) increased by a mere 2.55%; Group II (including industry and construction) expanded by 17.19%; and Group III (trading and services) boasted the highest of 18.6%. The results reflect an in-time direction by the Province's People's Committee in strongly concentrating on recovering after typhoon Durian last December (causing more than VND3,000 billion of damages, 59% of which were on the agricultural sector).

In an effort to help the agriculture regain its pre-storm power, the provincial leadership has set the formula of "let the short term spare the long term". At first hand, the agriculture authorities encouraged farmers to grow more than 500 hectares of corn and short-term vegetables for immediate use to serve for human and animal food demand.

Besides, the agricultural authorities also held many training courses of engineering transfer on field clearing and revamping in the typhoon aftermath, right at the start of the rice crop cultivation. So, though the cultivating land was just 69.35% of the yearly target of 55,479 hectares (a drop by 1.6% over the same period of last year), the production still reached a stunning 4 tons/ha.

The Service of Agriculture also joined hand with the Department of Science & Technology to plan a project to cure the coconut gardens that had been badly damaged by Durian typhoon. The project was comprised of works to train and guide farmers in how to use fertilizer properly in their coconut gardens so that the trees can regain health. That greatly helped the coconut woods "Ben Tre's edgy economic item" recover. This has led to the fact that Ben Tre exported 40 million pots of hard-shell coconut, 5,000 tons of desiccated coconut meat - an increase by 140.25% over the same period of last year.

Besides, the agricultural sector also embedded other projects in the process such as the project to grow anew 5,000 hectares of cconut, intensifying another 1,000 hectares of coconut; continuing to grow 1,000 hectares of cacao tree in the province's grand project to grow 10,000 hectares of cacao tree between 2006 and 2010; the project to grow 4,000 hectares of green-skin pomelo adopting green agricultural production (GAP) conception, in order to help farmers restore, resettle and re-develop production after the storm.

Another pleasing news is that, though badly hit by Durian typhoon, the total investment of the society in the first half of year still increases by 9.8%, reach VND 2,985 billion, 72.6% of which is private-owned and small household businesses. Private-owned and small household businesses are seen as the strongest force for Ben Tre's economic development at the moment. This is indicated by the fact that industry and handicraft gross production value in the first half of year accounted for VND 1,315 billion, an increase by 23% over the year. Its export value worthed US$62 million, increasing by 12.64% over the same period last year.

Translated by An Chau.

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