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Farmers' profits jump after switching to corn

Update: June, 01/2013 - 11:40
AN GIANG  (VNS)— Switching from low-yield rice to corn has brought higher incomes for farmers in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang, according to officials.

Over the past two years, many farmers in An Giang Province have been planting one corn crop and two rice crops on the same field each year.

Previously, they rotated three rice crops on the same field every year.

Farmers who participate in the rotating corn-rice crop model have harvested an average of 10.8-12.3 tonnes of corn per hectare, the highest yield in the country.

An Giang is the leader in the Mekong Delta province in switching from planting low-yield rice to corn.

Nguyen Ngoc Khai, head of the An Phu District Agriculture Extension Centre in An Giang, said farmers could earn an average profit of VND24 million (US$1,100) per hectare for a corn crop, three times higher than the profit of a rice crop.

Khai made his remarks at a seminar held on Wednesday in An Giang.

Mai Thanh Phung, deputy director of the National Agriculture Extension Centre, said the model should be developed in other provinces.

The deputy head of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's Plant Cultivation Department, Pham Dong Quang, said the country had to import about 1.5-2 million tonnes of corn a year.

The country has a large demand for corn, he said.

"However, the Delta should produce corn at a selling price that is equal to the price of imported corn," he said, adding that the country's corn was mostly purchased by animal feed producers.

The ministry has assigned the Plant Cultivation Department to rotate crop cultivation on paddy fields to increase farmers' incomes.

Farmers have been encouraged to grow either two rice crops and another cash crop each year, or one rice crop and two cash crops.

If most farmers continue to plant three rice crops each year, rice diseases and poor soil conditions will persist, according to scientists. — VNS


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