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Mekong Delta rice producers to plant more certified seeds

Update: July, 07/2014 - 08:59
The delta is the country's main rice producer with about 1.7 million hectares under the crop. — Photo ptit

HCM CITY (VNS) — The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta Rice Research Institute plans to double the area of rice fields using certified seeds in the next two to three years.

The delta is the country's main rice producer with about 1.7 million hectares under the crop.

But certified seeds are only cultivated on around 500,000ha per crop, according to the institute, adding that farmers mostly use paddy from the preceding crop to seed the next crop.

The increase in the use of certified seeds is targeted at improving the quality of the country's rice exports, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh said.

This is allied with the programme of developing large-scale rice fields by enterprises to create their own raw material sources, he said.

Dr Le Van Banh, director of the institute, said to achieve the target, the institute, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, is implementing an agricultural extension project for producing certified rice seeds.

It would co-operate with farmers to produce selected purebred varieties on some 10,000ha, he said.

Through the enterprises that have developed large-scale rice fields, the certified seeds would be sold to famers taking part in the programme but also to farmers who are not, he said.

The Viet Nam Southern Food Corporation (Vinafood 2), along with its subsidiaries, wants to tie up with the institute to develop quality seeds and supply them to enterprises for the large-scale rice fields, he said.

Planting certified seeds would yield rice of uniform quality and fetch higher export prices, he said.

But the domestic prices of rice, whether grown using certified or uncertified seeds, are almost the same though farmers have to pay more for buying certified seeds.

This discourages farmers from using certified seeds, Banh admitted, adding that firms therefore need to consider their purchase prices to boost their use. — VNS

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