|A farmer harvests rice in Long Tan Commune in the southern province of Soc Trang. Local farmers have enjoyed a bumper harvest for this year's winter-spring crop. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Ha
SOC TRANG (VNS)— Farmers in Soc Trang Province's Nga Nam Town who grow high-quality fragrant rice have had a bumper harvest for the 2013-14 winter-spring crop, earning high profits.
"I've never seen the yield of ST5 (Soc Trang) fragrant rice as high as this year," Huynh Thanh Binh, head of the Vinh Phong Hamlet Co-operative group in Vinh Quoi Commune, said.
Farmers have had an average yield of 7.8 tonnes per hectare in this crop, with some varieties achieving a yield of more than 10 tonnes per hectare.
Profits for each farmer have been about VND4 million (US$190) per 1,000 sq.m of ST5, according to Binh.
The town planted 8,600ha of fragrant rice for the winter-spring crop, accounting for 47 per cent of the total rice area, according to the town's Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau.
Of the fragrant rice area, ST varieties, which were developed in the province, accounted for 2,400ha.
Quach Van Quang, head of the Vinh Tien Co-operative in Vinh Bien Commune, said his co-operative had planted high-quality fragrant rice for more than 10 years and were earning better profits than normal rice varieties.
The co-operation among farmers, co-operatives and companies in planting fragrant rice varieties have also been strengthened, creating better results in production, he said.
Farmers who plant fragrant rice are guaranteed outlets via contracts with rice companies.
Nguyen Van Tien, deputy chairman of the Nga Nam People's Committee, said Nga Nam has focused on developing high-quality rice over the past years, becoming one of the leading fragrant rice cultivation areas in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta region.
To develop fragrant rice cultivation, the town has zoned areas for each kind of speciality rice. The areas have invested in pumps to secure irrigation water for rice cultivation.
The town has also been zoned to establish a 500ha large-scale rice field with complete infrastructure, including dykes, pumps, irrigation, and road and electricity systems to grow rice varieties.
This year, the town will implement a project to build embankments to prevent flooding of low-lying areas.
The projects, which cost VND136 billion ($6.4 million), will complete building 57 embankments with pumping stations by the end of next year.
Tien said besides high-quality, fragrant rice varieties produced by the province, local agricultural officers have been testing Japanese rice to diversify the province's high-quality rice varieties. — VNS