by Le Hung Vong
Many farmers in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tra Vinh have joined the large-scale rice production model that yielded profits of over VND20 million per ha in the last summer-autumn crop.
The 105ha cultivated by 77 households in Phuoc Hung Commune in the province's Tra Cu District will be expanded to 400ha and 200 households this winter-spring crop at the end of this year, a meeting held to review the model in Phuoc Hung on August 15 heard.
Thach So Phanh, deputy head of the district Division of Agriculture and Rural Development, said co-operation between State agencies, scientists, businesses, and farmers helped achieve a bumper summer-autumn crop and high profits.
Tra Cu had some 16,000ha under rice in the summer-autumn crop, including 902ha under the large-scale production model that yielded high-quality rice in, besides Phuoc Hung, the communes of Tan Son and Tap Son.
He said authorities provided 30 per cent of the seeds for the programme, including OM 6976, OM 4900, OM 6162, OM 5451, and OM 8686 strains, while the Tra Vinh Plant Protection Department's staff trained Phuoc Huu farmers.
Cu Chi Bio-Chemicals Co. trained farmers in the use of fertilisers while Tra Vinh Food Co bought the entire output of the summer-autumn crop.
The model helped Phuoc Huu farmers save 100kg of seeds per ha and attain an average yield of 6 to 6.5 tonnes per ha.
As a result, production costs fell from VND3,043 to VND2,539 for a kilogramme of paddy.
Some Phuoc Huu farmers even attained yields of seven tonnes, earning VND20.6 million per ha.
Thach Chang, a farmer in the commune's O Rung hamlet, said: "With assistance from Government farming experts, we can cut production costs and attain higher prices for our products by joining the large-scale production model."
He himself earned around VND10 million per ha more than normal by joining it.
Kim Se, head of the Tra Vinh Plant Protection Division, said the five crops in the last two years demonstrated the efficiency of the large-scale rice production model.
From 200 households two years ago, the programme has not attracted 2,500 households for the next winter-spring crop, he said.
Hoi An resorts suffer
Luxury resorts in the central city of Hoi An are lamenting a shortage of water supply.
VIR newspaper quotes Alexandru Dorus, manager of the Golden Sand Resort Hoi An, as saying his resort has faced shortages since May.
Though he rents tankers to bring clean water to the resort, the supply remains insufficient for guests' needs.
Other fancy places like Palm Garden Resort, Victoria Resort, and Sunrise Resort too face the same situation.
The managers of these high-end resorts, which have helped burnish the Hoi An tourism brand name, warn that the problem is affecting the local tourism industry.
Many of them have had to install pipes to pump underground water for use.
The city's water supply and drainage utility wrote to Golden Sand Resort Hoi An recently to explain the problem, blaming the shortage on saltwater infiltration into the pumping station, power failures, and the rising demand for water.
Nguyen Duc Thanh, deputy director of the company, says a new water plant with a capacity of 15,000 cubic metres per day is being built at a cost of $11.2 million to resolve the water shortages facing the city.
No local resident or visitor will have to suffer water shortages once construction of the new plant is complete, he promises.
But the catch lies in the fact it is uncertain when the plant will be completed. Truong Van Bay, deputy chairman of the Hoi An People's Committee, says the Quang Nam Water Supply and Drainage Construction JSC broke ground for it several years ago, but construction has been progressing at a snail's pace.
Hoi An wants the Quang Nam provincial authorities to urge the contractor to speed up work or find a new, more competent contractor, he says.
State to buy ‘damaged' gold
Damaged SJC gold bars and non-SJC gold bars meeting quality standards will be reprocessed into SJC gold under the supervision of the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV).
In an announcement last week the central bank said Sai Gon Jewelry Company (SJC), whose brand is now under its jurisdiction, will process gold for the SBV at a fee.
SBV will decide when to make them, in what volume, and the source of the gold.
To make gold bars, the central bank will sign an outsourcing contract with SJC whenever there is need. The gold processing will be supervised by SBV's inspectors, and SJC will hand over the bullion it produces to the central bank.
SJC has repeatedly sought approval from the central bank to reprocess its deformed and scratched gold bars, saying it did not have enough money to buy back all such bars since the amount of disfigured gold bars amounts to thousands of taels. A tael equals 1.2 troy ounces or 37.5g.
Those wanting to convert non-SJC into SJC gold bars will have to seek approval from the central bank which will be given 30 days after the proposal is sent, and SJC will then send a reprocessing plan to the central bank within two days after that.
Under the decision, the HCM City branch of the SBV will be in charge of receiving, sealing, and preserving gold moulds after this decision takes effect. — VNS