The Pleikeo irrigation system was completed in early 2020, bringing water to irrigate more than 200 hectares of crops in the Ayun commune. VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Điệp
GIA LAI — Due a severe shortage of water, farmers in the Central Highland province of Gia Lai were lucky to get just one crop each year.
But thanks to a new irrigation system installed in Ayun Commune, Chư Sê District, they have doubled their rice production capabilities.
Đinh Hóa, a farmer in Keo village in the commune, said in the past they would not even have enough rice to feed their own families, never mind selling it.
They couldn't grow any other crops, and were unable to raise any animals.
“Things have greatly improved since the Pleikeo irrigation canal was put into operation in 2020,” Hóa said.
“We farmers now can have rice twice a year and we no longer starve. Now we have enough rice to eat all year round and even have rice to sell.”
The Pleikeo irrigation project can provide water for 500 hectares of crops and was one of the most important projects for Ayun commune.
The first phase of the irrigation work was completed early 2020, bringing water to irrigate more than 200 hectares of crops in Ayun commune.
This has helped the people of Ayun change their way of thinking and working, learning to cultivate wet rice in the second crop, so their lives have changed positively.
In Ayun Commune, 97 per cent of its population are from ethnic groups of Jrai and Bahnar. Before 2016, due to poor farming and year-round droughts, Ayun commune with a poverty rate of over 84 per cent was as one of the poorest communes in Việt Nam.
Over the years, with support from many sources from central to local levels, Chư Sê district has focused on investing in a number of projects to help Ayun people develop production, stabilise their lives and reduce poverty.
The Pleikeo irrigation project with the design capacity to irrigate 500 hectares of crops was one of the most important projects for Ayun commune. VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Điệp
Nguyễn Văn Hợp, head of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Chư Sê District, said thanks to irrigation works, water supply for production is guaranteed, so their rice productivity and output is now much higher than in previous years.
In the winter-spring crop of 2020-2021, the yield is seven quintals per sào (500 square metres) and rice quality is much better.
With the Pleikeo irrigation system, Ayun's people planted the second crop of rice in 2021 with seeds, fertilisers, and plant protection treatment given to them by local authorities. They got a yield of 6.5 quintals per sào.
Hợp said that authorities and agencies would help local people to fully make use of irrigation project.
They also planned to help people switch to growing vegetables and fruit trees suitable to local soil, climate and farming conditions to increase the efficiency of land use in the area, Hợp said.
Nguyễn Hồng Hà, Secretary of Chư Sê District Party Committee, said that the district built a plan and arranged resources to help Ayun commune meet standards of a new rural area in 2023.
Particularly for the Pleikeo irrigation project, Gia Lai province has arranged a medium-term capital source for further investment in the second phase, which is expected to start in 2023 and will be deployed, expanding the remaining 300 hectares of irrigation area. — VNS