View of part of a new 25,000 hectare mangrove forest southwest of Ho Chi Ming City. The mangrove harvested is used for making charcoal. - - General: General. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam has a population of 65 million and covers an area of 329,556 square kilometres, most of which has been devastated by decades of war. The Government of Vietnam is now trying to develop the country by boosting agricultural production and generally raising the standard of living. Apart from the flagging food output, a major problem facing Vietnam is the increasingly rapid loss of its once abundant tropical forests, now diminishing at an estimated rate of 240,000 hectares a year. However, the country is receiving assistance from bilateral programmes of individual nations, international aid effort and the development agencies of the United Nations system. Among the latter is the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), with its headquarters in Rome, a country office in Hanoi and a regional office in Bangkok. At present there is a total of 44 FAO-assisted development projects underway in Vietnam. Of these, 25 are funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), two are "Trust Fund" projects financed by one or more of the richer of FAO's 158 member nations, and 17 short-term projects come under the FAO Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP). The TCP was launched by FAO's Director-General, Edouard Saouma, in 1976 and is funded under the Organization's Regular Programme.