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Mekong Delta eyes higher, better yields

Update: December, 27/2014 - 09:19
The country's rice granary is expected to produce around 25 million tonnes of paddy this year, up 500,000 tonnes from last year. — Photo doanhnhansaigon
HCM CITY  (VNS) — The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta will not expand its agricultural area but will instead focus on improving yield and quality, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam has said.

Speaking at a seminar in Can Tho on Wednesday, he said the region would bolster co-operation between farmers and companies to develop large-scale rice fields to increase farmers' earnings.

The country's rice granary is expected to produce around 25 million tonnes of paddy this year, up 500,000 tonnes from last year, according to the Southwest Region Steering Committee.

The region's authorities underlined the important role played by companies and co-operatives in restructuring agriculture.

Le Minh Hoan, secretary of the Dong Thap Province Party Committee, said many kinds of agricultural co-operatives are operating effectively in his province.

They tie up with companies to buy agricultural inputs and guarantee outlets for their members, he said.

"Co-operatives have helped reduce production costs and increase profits for farmers."

Many rice companies in Dong Thap have invested in agriculture in the form of building warehouses for storing rice, dryers and others.

The Southern Food Corporation has helped agricultural co-operatives in Dong Thap train their managers to improve capacity and cooperation among agricultural co-operatives and with companies.

Participants at the seminar said there is little co-operation between provinces in the delta.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh called on the delta provinces to restructure agriculture simultaneously with an ongoing central programme to make over rural areas, saying this would help increase the value of agricultural production.

To restructure agriculture, the delta's provinces and Can Tho city should improve the newer co-operation models between farmers and co-operatives and between farmers and companies, he said.

They should adopt advanced technologies to improve yields and cope with climate change, he said.

He called on the Ministry of Planning and Investment to release a list of infrastructure projects in the delta and encourage investment in them.

Policies for linking up the region should be in place soon, he said.

The policies, being drafted by the Southwest Region Steering Committee and the Ministry of Planning and Investment, will seek further development of the region's transportation, irrigation and infrastructure.

The regional links will focus on production, processing and sale of agricultural and fisheries products, creating common brand names and improving the quality of key products.

It will also focus on protecting the environment and responding to climate change and natural disasters.

The delta will increase the area of large-scale rice fields to 200,000ha next year, 66,000ha more than now, according to the Southwest Region Steering Committee.

An Giang, Dong Thap, and Can Tho alone will account for 110,000ha. — VNS

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