An orchard grows green skin and pink flesh grapefruit and guava in Trà Vinh Province’s Tiểu Cần District. The orchard was a rice field last year. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Hòa
TRÀ VINH — The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Trà Vinh is calling on farmers to only turn rice fields into other crops in accordance with the province’s zoning plan.
Farmers in the province have turned 4,276 hectares of rice fields into other crops, trees and aquatic species since last year, 89.3 per cent higher than the province’s target for the period.
Farmers converted the rice fields into other crops to boost economic efficiency.
Lê Văn Hẳn, chairman of the province People’s Committee, said the conversion of unproductive rice fields into other crops to increase income for farmers is in line with the province’s policies.
However, the area of converted rice fields is large and does not follow the province’s zoning plans for cultivating rice, perennial trees and aquaculture in each locality.
The province People’s Committee has ordered relevant departments and agencies and the people’s committees at commune level to soon inspect converted rice fields which did not follow the zoning plans.
The commune level people’s committees have organised activities to instruct farmers on procedures to convert rice fields into growing other crops in accordance to regulations and tighten the management of the conversion of rice fields.
In the 2021-25 period, the department plans to turn 8,000ha of unproductive rice fields into other crops.
The province has strengthened activities to support farmers to save production costs in cultivating rice, vegetables and fruits as the price of input materials such as fertiliser and pesticides have increased sharply recently.
Lâm Quang Thảo, director of the province’s Agriculture Extension Centre, said farmers are facing difficulties because of the high prices of input materials while the prices of agricultural products do not increase.
The price of fertiliser has increased by nearly 100 per cent, he said.
The province’s Agriculture Extension Centre is cooperating with authorities in localities to implement farming models that save production costs.
The centre has also provided advanced techniques for farmers and helped them use fertiliser efficiently and make organic fertiliser.
Advanced farming techniques for rice management include “three increases – three reductions”, “one must – five reductions”, integrated pest management, and alternate wet and dry irrigation for rice.
The “one must – five reductions” method uses certified seeds, and reduces seedlings, nitrogenous fertiliser, plant-protection chemicals, and irrigation and post-harvest losses.
The advanced farming techniques help reduce production costs and ensure the yield of rice.
The centre and district-level bureaus of agriculture and rural development are instructing farmers to make organic fertiliser from animal waste, leaves and other agricultural by-products.
Nguyễn Văn Thế in Cầu Kè District said he began to use both organic fertiliser and chemical fertiliser for his rambutan orchard this year.
With the use of both fertiliser types, he spends only VNĐ25 million (US$1,060) per hectare a year, down 35 per cent compared to using only chemical fertiliser, he said.
He yielded 30 tonnes per hectare in the last rambutan crop and earned a profit of more than VNĐ200 million ($8,500), he said. VNS