HCM CITY — The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announced VND4 trillion (US$190.5 million) has been earmarked for preserving rice-growing land.
Under a decree to take effect next month the Government will provide VND500,000 per ha per year to everyone growing wet rice.
It will also subsidise 70 per cent of fertiliser and pesticide costs if the crop sustains more than 70 per cent damage from natural disasters and other causes, and 50 per cent if the damage is 30 – 70 per cent.
The main goal of Decree 42 is to maintain 3.8 million ha of land under rice, Nguyen Tri Ngoc, head of the ministry's Cultivation Department, explained.
The support rates have been carefully considered to ensure their feasibility, he said, adding that they would encourage farmers to continue to grow rice and protect them from natural disasters and crop diseases.
Tran Xuan Dinh, deputy director of the Thai Binh Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the decree would play a significant role in motivating farmers to grow rice since they otherwise faced a lot of risk from natural disasters and diseases caused by climate change.
Currently the northern province gets a Government subsidy of around VND40 billion ($1.9 million) to sustain rice production on 76,000 – 82,000ha every year.
In 2000-10 the country's rice-growing area dropped by nearly 370,000ha, according to a report from the ministry.
The decreasing trend has continued due to industrialisation, urbanisation, and infrastructure development.
Worse still is the fact that by 2020 at least another 300,000ha will be converted for use for other purposes, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
It is estimated that around 6,000ha would be lost due to the impact of climate change by 2020 and nearly 20,000ha by 2030, mostly in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, the ministry said. — VNS