[hepr-vn] Vietnam to freeze new golf courses to protect rice farms
vern.weitzel at gmail.com
Tue Jul 29 00:17:49 EST 2008
Subject: Vietnam to freeze new golf courses to protect rice farms
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2008 20:36:55 +0700
From: nguyen mai <henmoc at gmail.com>
*Vietnam to freeze new golf courses to protect rice farms
*28 Jul, 2008, 1209 hrs IST, AGENCIES
HANOI: Communist Vietnam plans to restrict the growth of new golf
courses encroaching on rice farms to ensure national food security and
protect thousands of poor farmers, state media reported on Monday.
More than 140 golf courses, either operating or in the planning stages,
would take up almost 50,000 hectares (more than 120,000 acres) of land,
reported quoting a Ministry of Planning and Investment report. New golf
courses had been licensed at a rate of more than one per week since
early 2006, when foreign investor interest surged in the "emerging
tiger" economy, which saw growth of 8.5 per cent last year.
But now, as food prices are sky-rocketing amid double-digit inflation,
the government is planning to freeze new courses that do not meet
land-use criteria and environmental protection requirements, reports said.
"Local governments should cease issuing new golf licenses if the
projects are built on land which is currently used to cultivate two rice
crops a year," the ministry report said according to the Vietnam
Vietnam currently has only 13 operating golf course projects, but new
licenses have mushroomed recently, especially near the northern capital
Hanoi and around the southern business hub of Ho Chi Minh City, the
Long An province, near the former Saigon, had issued 18 licenses, and
state-owned companies had also asked for permission to build many
courses, with shipbuilder Vinashin alone planning five golf projects, it
Thousands of farmers had already lost their land and livelihoods, and
developers had typically compensated them at a rate of about two or
three dollars per square metre of land, the report said.
Golf courses also take a heavy environmental toll, said Eng Le Anh Tuan
from the Can Tho University Environmental Technology Centre.
An 18-hole golf courses consumes 5,000 cubic metres of water per day,
enough for 20,000 households, and three times the pesticides,
fertilisers and other chemicals used for farming, he was quoted as
saying by the media.
Amid Vietnam's economic boom, rice land shrank from 4.5 million to 4.1
million hectares between 2000 and 2006 due to the growth of industrial
and residential areas, the Agriculture Ministry said in June.
World grain prices have shot up this year, leading to bouts of
panic-buying of rice in Vietnam and prompting the government to cap
international sales and impose export tariffs to ensure national food
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