|People visit a large-scale rice field that produces rice seeds for cultivation in Ninh Thuận Province’s Ninh Phước District. - VNA/VNS Photo
HCM CITY – Farmers in the south-central province of Ninh Thuận are planting more rice, corn, sugarcane and other crops on large-scale fields to raise incomes.
As many as 103 ethnic Chăm households, who are part of the Phước Hậu Agricultural Services Co-operative, planted TH 41 rice seeds last year on the province’s first large-scale field, which covers 56 ha in Ninh Phước District.
Under the model, the households must use certified or quality seeds and reduce the use of seed, fertilisers, herbicides, irrigation water and post-harvest losses.
In the first crop produced on the large-scale field, the households harvested more than 8 tonnes of rice seeds per hectare, up 2.5 tonnes compared to normal fields.
The Nha Hố Seed Joint-Stock Company signed a contract with the co-operative to buy all output of the large–scale field.
Quảng Đại Hoàng, chairman of the Phước Hậu Agricultural Services Co-operative, said that many households registered to expand the large–scale field to 100ha for the 2017-2018 winter – spring rice crop.
“The success of the model has changed the outdated farming habits of Chăm households here,” he said.
The techniques of sowing rice seeds in lines and using fewer seeds helped farmers save 150-200 kilos of rice seeds per hectare compared to traditional sowing techniques, he said.
The planting of the same variety of rice seeds and the use of the same cultivation schedule for the large–scale field had improved productivity and reduced production costs.
In the 2017-2018 winter-spring field, the province developed an additional nine large-scale fields with a total area of 986ha.
Of the figure, Ninh Phước had six large-scale fields, producing rice and corn seeds for cultivation and asparagus.
The Phước An Agricultural Service Co-operative in Ninh Phước’s Phước Vinh Commune is producing hybrid corn seeds for cultivation on an 80ha large-scale field.
The co-operative’s members have made a profit of VNĐ40-50 million (US$1,760 – 2,200) per hectare a crop, up VNĐ29 – 33 million compared to planting corn for consumption.
Lê Phúc Hoa, director of the Phước An Agricultural Service Co-operative, said the co-operative focused on guaranteeing an outlet for its members and supplying material inputs for them.
The co-operative has worked with companies to expand cultivating areas and ensure outlets for members, he said.
Trương Thịnh, who participated in a large-scale rice field in the 2017-18 winter-spring crop, said his 3ha rice field had a yield of nearly 9 tonnes of ML 48 paddy per hectare, up nearly 500 kilos per hectare against the 2016-17 winter-spring crop.
He earned a profit of VNĐ20 million per hectare. “With high profits, many farmers will invest in expanding large-scale rice fields in the summer-autumn crop,” he said.
Nguyễn Hữu Đức, chairman of the Ninh Phước District People’s Committee, said the model of large-scale fields had been used for three crops with positive results.
The area of large-scale fields had increased after each crop.
The model eliminated outdated farming techniques and small-scale production, increased links among farmers, and reduced production costs, he said.
Ninh Phước District plans to increase the area of large-scale rice fields to 766ha this year, and encourage farmers to plant corn and asparagus by 2020.
This year, Ninh Thuận plans to develop 14 large-scale fields with a total of 1,424ha.
Local authorities have helped farmers take part in large-scale fields, including a 180ha large-scale sugarcane field in Ninh Sơn District and a 30ha large-scale grape field in Ninh Hải District.
The provincial People’s Committee has told agencies to support co-operatives and stakeholders who participate in large-scale fields.
The dry season lasts up to nine months in Ninh Thuận, which has the least rainfall of any area in the country. - VNS