|Rice output in the Mekong Delta is expected to rise this year since farmers used high-quality and high-yield varieties to improve their productivity. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Tri
HCM CITY (VNS) — Total rice output in the Mekong Delta this year is estimated to be 500,000 tonnes higher against last year, due to farmers taking action after agriculture officials urged them to use high-quality, high-yield varieties that are disease-resistant and mature within 85 to 95 days.
The total rice output in the Delta for the year is expected to be 25.5 million tonnes, accounting for 56 per cent of the country's total output, according to the Southwest Region Steering Committee.
Nguyen Phong Quang, deputy head of the committee, said local officials and farmers had been closely monitoring rice fields for disease and using proper farming techniques.
In the Mekong Delta, more than 470,000ha of the total 732,000ha of the autumn-winter rice crop has been harvested, according to the steering committee.
The harvested area has had an average yield of five tonnes per hectare, up 100 kilos against the previous autumn-winter crop.
The remaining area is growing well, and the total output for the autumn-winter crop is expected to be 3.7 million tonnes.
In general, farmers have had good harvests and received good prices for their autumn-winter crops.
Vo Van Ut Em, who planted one hectare of rice in Cang Long District in Tra Vinh Province, said: "When the harvest was near, many traders came to rice fields and deposited money to buy paddy in advance."
Em said his family have earned a profit of VND16 million (US$760) per hectare.
Tra Vinh farmers have harvested more than 10,500ha of 86,850ha of autumn-winter crop, but rice diseases caused by brown planthoppers and other pests have affected more than 3,300ha.
Kim Xe, head of Tra Vinh's Plant Cultivation Sub-department, said local plant protection officials were working with farmers to control diseases.
Some farmers in the south who have completed their harvesting of the autumn-winter crop have begun sowing fields for the 2014-15 winter-spring rice crop.
The south plans to cultivate a total of 1.6 million hectares of rice for the winter-spring crop. Of that amount, 1.5 million hectares are in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.
Nguyen Quoc Cuong, deputy director of the Southern Plant Protection Centre, said that provinces in the south had been told to monitor weather forecasts, water levels and the migration of rice pests.
After flooding waters recede from rice fields, farmers should pump the remaining water out of fields and clean them, Cuong said.
This year, the delta's flooding water remained low, so farmers treated their rice seeds before sowing to prevent diseases, he added.
The delta's annual floods caused by the rising level of the Mekong River brings fertile silt into rice fields and helps kill rice pests.
Cuong also asked local agriculture officials to provide farmers with intensive farming techniques, and teach them about the proper use of fertilisers and pesticides. — VNS