Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Farmers in the Mekong Delta are earning more income from breeding more fish and other aquatic species in rice fields during the annual flood season.
In Sóc Trăng Province’s Ngã Năm Town, farmers began breeding early this year as the delta’s annual flood season began a month earlier this year.
They breed various fish and aquatic species, including snakehead fish, carp, Java barb, tilapia and shrimp.
Phạm Thị Sô, who breeds snakehead fish in Ngã Năm’s Mỹ Bình Commune, said in previous years she had bred about 1,500 snakehead fish, but this year she is breeding 4,000 as flood levels are higher.
She is now preparing tools to catch wild small fish and other aquatic species to feed her snakehead fish.
Farmers normally spend money to buy food for small fish or aquatic species. When they become bigger and floods are high, they then eat natural food in the floodwaters.
To support local farmers, the Ngã Năm Town Economic Bureau in cooperation with the town’s Vocational and Continuing Education Centre has organised two classes in fish breeding techniques for local farmers.
To breed fish and aquatic species in rice fields, farmers use wooden stakes and nets around their flooded fields to contain fish and aquatic species.
Lê Hoàng Khương, deputy head of the Ngã Năm Town Economic Bureau, said: “Farmers catch golden snails and wild small fish in floodwaters to feed their fish so the breeding costs in the flood season have fallen significantly.”
The number of farmers breeding fish in rice fields this year rose compared to last year, mostly in Long Bình, Mỹ Bình and Mỹ Qưới communes.
Farmers who breed about 2,000 fish in the flood season can earn a profit of VNĐ7 -10 million (US$300 – 429).
In Hậu Giang Province’s Phụng Hiệp District, farmers are breeding fish in 2,500ha of rice fields, according to the district’s Agriculture Extension Station.
The fish breeding area in the district is expected to increase as many farmers will complete the release of fries into rice fields by the end of the month, according to the district’s Agriculture Extension Station.
Phụng Hiệp is a low-lying area, so farmers normally do not reap high profits when planting the third rice crop in the flood season. Therefore, many farmers in the district have switched to breed fish in the flood season in recent years.
The profits from breeding fish in the flood season are higher than that from planting rice, and it fertilises rice fields because floodwaters bring alluvia to the fields and destroy germs that cause rice diseases.
Nguyễn Văn Y, who has bred fish in his rice field during the flood season for three years in Phụng Hiệp Commune, said in previous years he had released 15 kilo of fries for breeding in his 1ha of rice field and earned a profit of VNĐ12-15 million after three months.
This year he and many neighbours ordered fries in advance because of a temporary shortage.
Every year, the Phụng Hiệp District Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau provides farmers with techniques to breed fish and other aquatic species in the flood season to help them improve income.
Nguyễn Hoàng Tâm, deputy head of the Hậu Giang Province’s Fisheries Sub-department’s Aquaculture Division, said that since the flood level was high this year, more farmers were breeding fish in rice fields.
Besides following breeding techniques to avoid losses, farmers should follow the latest market information to breed fish species that sell well. — VNS