|Farmers harvest the 2022-23 winter-spring rice in Sóc Trăng Province’s Châu Thành District. — VNA/VNS Photo Tuấn Phi|
SÓC TRĂNG — The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Sóc Trăng aims to set up 110 new co-operatives and 515 new co-operatives groups with a total of 13,000 members by 2025.
Huỳnh Ngọc Nhã, director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said they would include five to 10 agricultural co-operatives with products recognised under the country’s One Commune-One Product Programme.
A co-operative must have at least seven members under the law, and a co-operative group, at least three.
To help the collectives operate efficiently, the province will train their managers in setting up production plans, trading, building brands, and others.
It will encourage highly qualified young people to work in collectives and have policies to pay them attractive salaries.
It will help co-operatives advertise and promote their products at exhibitions and sell their products on e-commerce platforms, provide financial assistance for them to invest in production facilities, assist them with getting soft loans, and solicit investment in them.
Sóc Trăng is an agrarian province, with nearly 68 per cent of its population living in rural areas, and the collective economy has an important role in its socio-economic development.
The province now has 222 co-operatives, 199 of them in the agricultural sector, with a total of 34,500 members.
Many of the agricultural co-operatives are doing well and have linked up with companies to ensure steady demand and prices.
The Vinh Lợi Agriculture Co-operative in Thạnh Trị District, for instance, was established last year and its 22 members grow ST25 rice, winner of the World’s Best contest in 2019, on a total of 50ha.
It has a contract with a company to sell its entire produce at agreed prices.
Nguyễn Văn Út, director of Vinh Lợi, said besides instructing members in growing clean and organic rice varieties, the co-operative also puts them on to government support programmes and projects for access to funding and advanced techniques, which helps increase the value of their rice and their incomes.
Nguyễn Văn Thống, a member of the co-operative, said: “By participating in the co-operative, we are guaranteed outlets and feel secure about farming.”
The province also has 18 co-operatives that have linked with the Post Office to sell their agricultural produce.
The linkages between companies, co-operatives and farmers have helped establish concentrated growing areas that churn out output in large volumes and with high quality to meet market requirements, according to the department.
The area under rice with farm contracts has also increased significantly, it added. — VNS