Trà Vinh unveils ambitious agricultural extension programme

January 11, 2023 - 10:31
Trà Vinh Province hopes to attract more investments in its agriculture extension programme for 2023-25, according to its People’s Committee.
: Farmers are planting the winter-spring rice crop in Trà Vinh Province’s Châu Thành District. – VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Hoà

TRÀ VINH – Trà Vinh Province hopes to attract more investments in its agriculture extension programme for 2023-25, according to its People’s Committee.

The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province will provide training to farmers to enhance awareness of commercial agricultural production in terms of improving quality, efficiency and competitiveness.

It will develop hi-tech, biological and organic agriculture.

Nguyễn Trung Hoàng, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee, said 15 agriculture extension models would be developed for farmers within the next three years, including for growing corn, water melon, red chilli, jujube, grape, rice, pineapple, and dates and raising cows, goats, pigs, chickens, white-legged shrimp, and eels.

They would use safe standards and advanced techniques, ensure guaranteed outlets and be environment-friendly.

The jujube model, for instance, would use net houses and organic farming methods, be adapted to climate change and offer tourism services on the side.

Rice would also be grown to organic standards.

On a total of 24,319ha, farmers use advanced techniques like semi-auto irrigation, good agricultural practices (GAP) standards and intensive and super-intensive farming.

Most of them offer higher yields, quality and efficiency than traditional models.

The province has 7,452ha under coconut, rice and vegetables grown to VietGAP, GlobalGAP or organic standards.

Last year the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development taught nearly 16,000 farmers techniques for growing rice and other crops to organic standards.

Rice-shrimp farming

Farmers who grow organic rice and breed giant river prawns in the same fields in two riverine island communes in Châu Thành District, Long Hoà and Hoà Minh, have enjoyed a bumper harvest and high prices.

They grow ST 24, a global award-winning rice variety, on a total area of 101ha and harvest 5.5 tonnes per hectare.

Nguyễn Văn Nhanh, secretary of the Long Hoà Party Committee, said the commune had signed contracts with three companies to sell its organic rice at VNĐ11,000 (46 US cents) a kilogramme, two times the price of rice grown using traditional farming methods.

At this price, farmers could earn VNĐ35-45 million ($1,500-1,900) per hectare, VNĐ20-25 million more than by using traditional farming methods, he said.

Nguyễn Văn Huệ, deputy director of the Tiến Thành Agriculture Co-operative in Long Hoà, said farming organic rice and giant river prawns had offered high incomes to farmers for years now.

They also harvested around 550 kilogrammes of the prawns per hectare per year, and earned VNĐ150-200 million ($6,400-8,500) from it, he said.

The model was environmentally friendly because farmers used few chemicals for farming the rice and shrimp, he said.

Lê Văn Đông, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the province had many areas that were suitable for growing organic rice together with aquatic species, but now had difficulty finding companies to buy them, and so the model had not developed greatly.

Trà Vinh has 5,000ha of clean rice and aims to increase it to 20,000ha by 2030.

It also plans to have 2,500ha under organic rice by then, mostly in Châu Thành, Trà Cú and Cầu Ngang districts.

In the winter-spring crop, the province will grow more than 51,700ha of rice and encourage farmers to plant high-quality varieties such as OM5451, OM18, ST24, and ST25.

About 90 per cent has been sown so far. – VNS