The Vietnamese Mekong Delta and the Dutch Delta
The Mekong Delta in Vietnam and the Netherlands face similar issues. Centuries ago, people settled in deltas because of the fresh water and the fertile soil. Today, the agriculture that allowed for prosperous economies and population growth have become vulnerable; the delta is threatened by flooding, droughts, salination of water and soil.
The Netherlands has developed long term plans and, together, knowledge centers, businesses and government is actively reshaping the delta into a safe and sustainable habitat for the next centuries. A key element of the Dutch approach includes:
- ‘Building with nature’: solutions that use natural processes to work with nature rather than work
against it, such as used in the
project 'Room for the River' and the Dutch Deltaplan;
- Development of inclusive systems and;
- No regret solutions within the value chain.
The Vietnamese Mekong Delta is the food basket of the country and is known for its intensive rice production with two to three crops per year. Today, the region faces challenges due to climate change effects and socio-economic developments that results in land subsidence and salinisation. To have a sustainable delta, the long-term solution is clear: 1) replacement of rice production with vegetables and fruits and 2) focus on quality of crops rather than on quantity. In order to achieve sustainable change, Vietnam is developing the Agricultural Transformation Plan (ATP). [links to Deltaplan VN].
Vietnam and the Netherlands are longstanding partners and have signed various agreements to exchange knowledge and experience, with a specific focus on the Mekong Delta. Over the years, projects have been executed, trade has increased, and Dutch businesses have settled in the Vietnam and the Mekong Delta.
The increasing focus of Vietnam on the Agricultural Ttransformation Plan has triggered the Topsectors in the Netherlands to intensify the cooperation in Vietnam. Via the Topsector, an organisational body, the Netherlands has the ambition to further boost innovations and develop solutions to major social issues in sector in which the Netherlands has a leading position. Four Topsectors: Horticulture & Propagation Materials, Agri & Food, Water & Maritime, and Logistics; are joining forces to mobilise Dutch knowledge and business to support the agricultural transformation in the Mekong Delta.
The Mekong Delta Business Platform
In practical terms, the joined topsectors launched the Mekong Delta Business Platform (MDBP) to:
1. Inform on developments in the Mekong Delta and the ATP to inspire businesses, knowledge
centers, others to apply their ideas and solutions in the Mekong Delta. The focus will be on
sustainable change, value chains, climate adaptation and more.
2. Facilitate matchmaking with parties in Vietnam, in the Netherlands or elsewhere, often by
providing links to businesses, knowledge
centers, or renowned institutes like RVO, FMO, NUFFIC and others.
3. Help overcome thresholds that could hamper initiatives (e.g., partners, financing)