HCM CITY — Farmers in the south have completed planting the winter-spring rice crop while the task is continuing in other regions, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reported.
|Farmers work on their winter-spring rice field in the southern province of Ca Mau. Farmers in the south have completed planting the winter-spring rice. — VNA/VNS Photo Duy Khuong
In the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, they have totally planted 1.56 million hectares.
Further east, planting has been completed on 122,000ha, and the crop is reportedly very healthy.
The last flood season in Cuu Long Delta saw historic high flooding, depositing more silt in paddy fields and destroying rice pests, enabling a healthy crop now, according to MARD.
The southern region also has favourable weather and plenty of water for irrigation, according to MARD's Plant Cultivation Department.
Nguyen Tri Ngoc, head of the department, said his department is monitoring the crop in coastal south-central and Tay Nguyen regions, and would also keep watch over the drought and salt water intrusion likely to occur at the end of the crop.
It would work with the agriculture departments in the two regions to draft plans to prevent diseases and cope with the water shortage and salt water intrusion, he said.
In other places, the planting is being completed rapidly. In the coastal south-central region and Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands), 244,000ha have been planted, or 98 per cent of the targeted area.
In the north-central region, farmers have planted 170,000ha, or 50 per cent of the planned area.
The work is continuing, mostly in Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, and Ha Tinh.
The severe cold spells recently have affected the crop in the region, even destroying it in some areas. In Ha Tinh, for instance, 11,700ha have been affected.
Farmers in the north have planted more than 800,000ha and are expected to finish by March 5.
Local authorities have advised farmers to cover the newly cultivated fields with plastic to protect the plants from cold.
On Thursday the northern region completed releasing water from reservoirs for a second time for this paddy crop, according to the Irrigation Department.
Phu Tho Province saw 100 per cent of its lands irrigated, while in Ha Nam, Hung Yen, Hai Duong, Thai Binh, and Nam Dinh the number is 90 per cent.
Rice varieties researched
Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said the ministry would continue to research and create new rice varieties until 2016.
It is now in the middle of eight projects to create pure and hybrid strains at a cost of VND30 billion (US$1.43 million), he said.
The projects aim to create strains that yield 15-20 per cent more than existing varieties, they are of high quality and highly resistant to diseases, unfavourable farming conditions, and suitable for planting in various ecological zones, he said.
For the Cuu Long Delta, the country's rice granary, the ministry will focus on creating new strains for exports, he said.
They would yield more than 6.5 tonnes per hectare and have a grain length of more than 7mm and amylose content – one of the main criteria for grain quality - of around 20 per cent, meeting export standards, he said.—VNS