Sunday, October 28, 2007

France, ADB to help Vietnam rebuild farm infrastructure

A French agency and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide US$143.3 million in loans and grants to help Vietnam rebuild rural roads, irrigation systems, and farm infrastructure, the bank said yesterday.

Hanoi will get a $90-million soft loan from the Philippines-based ADB, and a $52-million loan and $1.3-million grant from France's Agence Francaise de Developpement.

Vietnam's critical rural infra-structure has deteriorated over decades due to war, natural disasters, and budget constraints. The project will cover 13 provinces in Vietnam's impoverished central region.

Scheduled to be upgraded are rural roads; irrigation drainage and flood control systems; rural markets; domestic water supply schemes; and special coastal

works such as sand dune stabilization, salinity prevention, and mangrove rehabilitation.

"Poverty in Vietnam is a rural phenomenon, focused to a large extent on the more isolated central and northern regions of the country. It especially affects ethnic minorities," said ADB natural resources economist Ahsan Tayyab.

Improvements in rural infra-structure have already helped Vietnam's agricultural sector achieve significant growth in the past decade, the bank said.

Detailed loan terms were not disclosed.