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14 June 2009

Vietnam to withdraw new golf course approvals

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Golf course development in Vietnam is threatening its agricultural land and almost one third of the projects should be stopped, AFP reported, quoting a local newspaper.

Fifty of the 166 golf courses under development or approved should be cancelled, Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc was quoted by Thanh Nien newspaper as saying in the National Assembly.

He asked the communist-dominated assembly to tell provincial authorities to abort the projects, the report said.

"There is no reason to use rice-growing land to build golf courses," Phuc was quoted as saying. He added that farmland accounted for a high ratio of the land being cleared for golf, and his ministry had proposed tighter regulation of the projects, Thanh Nien reported.

Under the proposals, an 18-hole course would be licensed in most cases if it covered less than 100 hectares (247 acres) of land, and each course could use a maximum of only 10 hectares of infertile rice fields, the report said.

"Rice fields must be retained to ensure the nation's food security," the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Pham Khoi Nguyen, was quoted as saying. Vietnam is one of the world's leading rice exporters. 


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