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Life on the Mekong River

March 29, 2013
Mekong River provides food, drinking water, irrigation, transport, and energy
Santa Paula News

The Mekong River provides food, drinking water, irrigation, transport, and energy for the more than 60 million people in China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam who live in its basin.

The freshwater fisheries of the Mekong River Basin have a commercial value of $2 billion and provide 80% of the animal protein consumed by those living there.

The Mekongís natural flooding provides spawning grounds for fish. And it enriches cropland like the Mekong Delta where 50% of Vietnamís staple food crops grow with fertile sediments and water for irrigation.

The Mekong Delta is used for agriculture, which is one fourth of Vietnamís total. Due to its mostly flat terrain and few forested areas, almost two thirds of the regionís land can be used for agriculture. The regionís land used for growing cereals makes up 47% of the national total, more than northern and central Vietnam combined. Most of this is used for rice cultivation. Rice output in 2011 was 23,186,000t, 54.8% of Vietnamís total output.†

The Mekong Delta is also Vietnamís most important fishing region. It has almost half of Vietnamís capacity of offshore fishing vessels. Fishery output was at 3.168 million tons (58.3% of Vietnam) and has experienced rapid growth.