The Mekong Delta is a region located in the southwest area of Vietnam, and is named after the Mekong River. The Mekong River is the start of the Mekong Delta. The Mekong Delta is 15,000 square miles, so it is not a minuscule area. In addition, it has been the location of the discovery of over 10,000 new species. Recently, it has been declared that hunger was completely eliminated in the Mekong Delta, thanks to a national program to eliminate hunger as well as poverty in the Delta region. According to the Vietnamese government, while the program has achieved a significant accomplishment, it’s work is only half done. Hunger has been completely eliminated in the Mekong Delta, and the next stop is poverty. Poverty reduction still needs to take place, meaning a further effort still needs to be invested. However, the great strides that have been made thus far are an inspiration to the rest of the world.
The National Assembly, which is the law-making body in Vietnam, has decided to spend over $240 million until 2015 in order to reduce poverty. This decision was made under the plan for poverty alleviation, which is not only for the Mekong Delta, but for the entire country; they wish to lower the poverty rate from 9.6 percent to a mere 5 percent over the next few years. There have also been multiple social welfare programs coming from the Vietnamese government to help those with low-incomes to receive important job training and education in order to increase their earnings. Other programs will focus on legal assistance, housing, healthcare, water, and electricity supply. The government wishes to educate their country, as well as to provide them with necessities like water and electricity.
As of now, the only subsidies given to the residents of Mekong Delta are for hunger elimination. Clearly, this has been successful – there is easy access to food in the region of Mekong Delta, which is a great success marking the fight against hunger. However, the government needs to move to poverty elimination so that the residents of the Mekong Delta can maintain greater levels of food access and life themselves out of poverty. Poverty in the Mekong Delta is not associated with hunger. Instead, it is defined as a lack of education and a diminishing work force. There are many people in poverty in that area; people who cannot escape the cycles of poverty because they have no skills, or no way of finding work. 10 out of 40 poor households do not have anything to produce, and do not have any foreseeable way to leave poverty without outside assistance. The Mekong Delta Development Research Institute found that the average of cultivable land of the households in the Mekong Delta is .4 hectares, which is too small to create wealth. It can provide food for the owners but nothing more.
If an entire region can be free of hunger, this bodes well for the rest of the globe. Hunger is something that can be eliminated. Vietnam’s progress is an inspiration to governments worldwide who wish to provide more stable food security to their citizens. Their path to drastically reduce poverty in the region is also something that will hopefully be met with just as much success.
– Corina Balsamo
Sources: VN News, AusAID, Tuoi Tre News
Photo: Sinh Cafe Travel