Vietnam's southern Mekong delta provinces target 2.55 billion U.S. dollars from shrimp exports in 2014, about 50 million dollars higher than last year, local media reported Monday. Mekong delta region consists of one centrally-run Can Tho City and 12 provinces, of which Ca Mau province is likely to take the lead in shrimp exports, which are predicted to fetch 1.1 billion dollars, reported state-run Radio Voice of Vietnam (VOV) quoting sources from the local agriculture, forestry and fishery department. To achieve the set target, Mekong Delta provinces are expanding shrimp breeding areas to 596,000 ha, mostly in coastal regions of Ca Mau, Bac Lieu, Kien Giang, Soc Trang and Tra Vinh. They are applying non-chemical breeding techniques to ensure the best quality of aquatic products. Plans are in place to upgrade irrigation networks, focusing on waste treatment and increasing the supply of clean water, said the report, adding that local farmers were provided with new varieties and preferential loans to develop their shrimp breeding activity. In 2013, the Mekong Delta region had more than 588,000 ha of shrimp breeding area, and produced nearly 380,000 tons of shrimp, contributing 92 percent and 79.8 percent in terms of area and output, respectively, to the country's total figures. Meanwhile, Vietnam has secured the third place among the world' s shrimp exporters in 2013 with a total export value of 2.5 billion U.S. dollars, representing a yearly rise of nearly 33 percent and accounting for 44 percent of the total aquatic export turnover, according to statistics from the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP). In the first two months of this year, its export earnings hit more than 430 million dollars.