|Farmers harvest blood cockles in Song Doc Beach in southern Ca Mau Province. Many farmers are raising blood cockles and shrimp in the same ponds to get higher profits. — VNA/VNS Photo Van Khanh
CA MAU (VNS)— Farmers in the southern province of Ca Mau have found that raising blood cockles and shrimps in the same salty and marshy ponds leads to higher profits.
The technique also allows them to take fuller advantage of the ponds.
Last year Dam Doi district resident Nguyen Van Dung invested VND20 million (US$950) to buy 100 kilos of blood cockle seeds to put in with his shrimps. Each kilo of the breeding stock contains 250 to 300 seed.
After six to seven months, he harvested nearly two tonnes of cockles, which brought him more than VND80 million ($3,800) in net profit.
"The combination is very profitable with low initial investment, simple raising technique and low feeding costs as cockle do not need much care or feed," Dung said.
"Raising shrimps alone is quite risky due to disease and unstable prices, but raising the two together has really opened a new way of farming for locals," he said.
This year, Dung has decided to double the size of his ponds to exploit the combination.
Many other farm households in Ca Mau have benefited from the technique, which has been developed in the province since 2008.
Before 2008, people in Ca Mau mostly raised blood cockles on marshy plains and among mangroves. As this required special permission from local authorities, farmers were not interested.
The number of combination farms has grown to more than 500 and the raising ponds expanded to thousands of hectares in Dam Doi, Phu Tan, Nam Can and Ngoc Hien districts.
And, according to agricultural experts, there is much potential to expand the model as more than 60 per cent of the province's 290,000 hectares of aquacultural areas are salt-marsh.
Le Van Su, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province would support farmers wanting to enter the industry.
"We will also encourage farmers to co-ordinate into groups to support each other and search for markets," he added. — VNS