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Rice farmers reap bumper harvest

Update: February, 14/2007 - 00:00

Rice farmers reap bumper harvest

(15-02-2007)

Farmers from the Can Dang Commune in the southern province of Can Tho harvest rice. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu

HCM CITY — Farmers in the Mekong Delta are harvesting a bumper winter-spring rice crop this year, which was badly needed because of the losses incurred from the brown planthopper infestation.

Local farmers in Dong Thap, Tien Giang, Soc Trang and Vinh Long provinces said the average output was 5.5 to 6.5 tonnes of rice per hectare, 0.5 tonnes per hectare higher than last year. In some areas, the rice output is up to 7 tonnes per hectare.

Nguyen Minh Tam, head of Thap Muoi District’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said local farmers are happier because rice was selling at an attractive VND3,000 a kilo.

Bui Van Su, a local farmer in My Quy commune, Dong Thap Province, said that with the rising price, he had earned a profit of VND30 million (US$1,800) per hectare, a record level for the last three years.

In Dong Thap and Vinh Long Provinces, local farmers are also rejoicing, earning an average profit of VND20,000 per hectare from selling fragrant rice.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Bui Ba Bong attributed the succesful rice crop harvest before Tet to the agricultural sector’s and farmers’ joint efforts to stamp out the planthopper pest epidemic, saving tens of thousands of hectares of rice.

Farmers have converted to pest-resistant strains, and have sprayed pesticides, guided by agronomists.

In Thap Muoi District, Dong Thap Province, local farmers have destroyed ricefields plagued by the pest to prevent spreading of the disease to surrounding paddy fields, thus protecting 34,000 hectares of winter – spring crop.

Nguyen Van Khang, director of Tien Giang Agricultural and Rural Development Department, however, urged local farmers to wash rice fields after harvesting and plant rice seedlings on schedule to reap a plentiful crop.

The Trade Ministry plans to export 4 million tonnes of rice in 2007. If the coming crops are good, it is expected to increase rice exports to 4.5 million tonnes.

The ministry said the rice market in Asia had been active in the early months of 2007. The Philippines bought as many as 1.65 million tonnes of rice from Asian countries in 2006, chiefly from Viet Nam. Rice shipments to the Philippines are expected to be higher than in 2007.

In addition to the Philippine market, Vietnamese rice exporters plan to sell 150,000-170,000 tonnes of rice to Japan, signalling a bigger rice demand from the Asian market, including Indonesia — VNS

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