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Vietnam’s efforts to combat desertification

   6/12/2008

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Hua Duc Nhi said Vietnam is taking important measures to combat desertification. According to statistics, about 9.3 million ha of Vietnam ’s land, representing 28 percent of the land acreage nationwide, is currently desertified. The area includes more than 5 million ha of waste land, about 2 million ha of seriously degraded cultivated land and more than 2 million ha under threat of degradation. At the launch of a national action plan against desertification held in Hanoi on June 11, the deputy minister outlined measures to promote sustainable forest expansion, conduct research and prevent erosion. Desertification has seen growing strips of sand along the central region’s coast. Over the past 40 years, moving sand has caused serious desertification and encroached on 10-20ha of cultivated land every year. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) said complicated developments of desertification are being seen in the southern central coastal region because hot weather and low annual average rainfall of about 700mm expand white sand areas. Soil is facing a reduction in quality due to erosion, laterisation and saltwater encroachment and exploitation of marine products and uncontrolled development of aquaculture in some localities have also narrowed areas of protective forest and degraded land and water sources. MARD highlighted the theme “For a sustainable agriculture” of the World Day to Combat Desertification (June 17), saying it is important to fight desertification in sustainable development of agriculture and rural areas in Vietnam and the world. In addition to the national action plan, the government says the past two years have seen the introduction of legal documents to address the problem, such as the strategy on forest development till 2020, the national strategy on natural disaster prevention and combat, a policy to support forest development, and experimental regulations on payment for forest environment services. Desertification is not only a major environmental challenge in the world, but also a threat to the quality of existence for those living in drought areas. It is estimated that desertification effects the health and life of about 1.2 billion people in more than 100 countries and territories.

VNA
6/12/2008

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