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Delta farmers profit from new direction

Update: March, 16/2013 - 09:45

CUU LONG DELTA (VNS)— Farmers residing along the Hau River in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta are turning away from rice cultivation to planting vegetables, even during the dry season, as the latter brings higher profits.

Phan Thanh Liem, who grows 7,000 square metres of spring onions in Vinh Long Province's Binh Tan District, said there was enough fresh water during the dry season to grow vegetables.

With the current spring-onion price at VND4,500 a kilo, Liem said he could earn profits of VND35-40 million (US$1,600-1,900) from his harvest, much more than what he could earn from 1 hectare of rice.

The Hau River, a tributary of the Mekong River, runs through An Giang, Dong Thap, Vinh Long, Hau Giang, Tra Vinh and Soc Trang provinces and Can Tho City.

Like Liem, many farmers in Binh Tan District's Tan Binh, Tan Quoi and Tan Thanh communes prefer to grow vegetables rather than rice, according to the district's Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau.

In Dong Thap Province's Lai Vung District, farmers in Tan Hoa, Phong Hoa and Dinh Hoa communes are also planting vegetables during the dry season.

Nguyen Van Cat, chairman of the Tan Hoa Commune People's Committee, said farmers had planted more than 400ha of vegetables and cash crops, including mushrooms, sesame, cucumbers and chilli.

Because of the proximity of the Hau River, the area has fresh water and fertile soil. It also has good irrigation and road systems that create favourable conditions for cultivating vegetables, according to Cat.

Huynh Van Ton, deputy head of the Lai Vung Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau, said farmers earned only VND30-40 million per hectare in profits from the winter-spring rice crop, which is the highest-earning crop.

In contrast, farmers can earn a profit of VND50-60 million per hectare per crop of sesame, VND250 million per hectare per crop of sweet potatoes, VND70 million per hectare per crop of okras, and VND200-240 million per hectare per crop of mushrooms.

Lai Vung District authorities are developing a 200-ha specialised vegetable-cultivation area in Phong Hoa Commune.

Ta Van Hoi, secretary of the Lai Vung Party Committee, said the district would switch from planting vegetables on a small scale and a scattered model to a large-scale, advanced-technique cultivation model.

And the district's vegetable cultivation will be under Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices (VietGap) to meet processing and export requirements, he said. — VNS


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