|A combine harvester harvests rice in Long An Province’s Kiến Tường Town. – Photo baolongan.vn|
LONG AN – The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Long An hopes to ensure 20,000ha of paddies are farmed using advanced techniques by the end of this year.
Nguyễn Chí Thiện, deputy director of its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said these lands would be in Vĩnh Hưng, Tân Hưng, Thạnh Hóa, Mộc Hóa, and Tân Thạnh districts and Kiến Tường Town.
These localities now have 62 different models that use advanced techniques on an area of 13,400ha.
Farmers adopting these models use certified high-quality rice seeds and machinery in all stages, organic fertilisers, and biocides, and grow flowers around rice fields to attract insects that are natural enemies of brown plant hoppers.
Rice produced under these models has guaranteed outlets.
They have reduced production costs by VNĐ2 – 2.5 million (US$86 - 107) per hectare and increased yields by VNĐ300 – 500 kilogrammes, according to the department.
Participating farmers earn VNĐ4 – 6 million ($171 - 258) per hectare more than from normal farming methods, it said.
Nguyễn Thị Diệu Ngân, director of the Vĩnh Thuận Agriculture Co-operative in Vĩnh Hưng District, said her co-operative was selected to implement an advanced rice farming model on 50ha in 2016.
It received assistance with building a warehouse and rice-drying facility and buying machinery like laser-operated land levellers, ploughing machines and combined harvesters, she said.
For this summer – autumn crop, it is growing 50ha to Vietnamese good agricultural practice (VietGAP) standards.
It signed contracts with a company for selling its paddy at VNĐ500 – 1,000 a kilogramme higher than market prices.
In Kiến Tường Town, the application of advanced farming techniques on nearly 3,400ha has increased rice yields and farmers’ incomes.
Hà Văn Nứa, who has a 2.5ha rice field in Tuyên Thạnh Commune, said he followed all the instructions carefully, including using low seedling transplant density.
“[The low density] offers many benefits and is more effective than high density transplantation.”
Võ Thanh Tòng, deputy head of the town Economic Bureau, said advanced techniques were used under three rice farming models on a total of 149ha in the summer – autumn crop.
It involved 56 households, and most of them used certified rice seeds and techniques like ‘one must and six reductions’, he said.
Under this method, farmers use certified seeds and reduce seeding, plant protection chemicals, nitrogen fertilisers, irrigation, greenhouse gas emissions, and post-harvest losses.
Thiện said to increase the area under advanced farming techniques, the department would strengthen advocacy to raise awareness among farmers, co-operative teams, co-operatives, and rice companies about their benefits.
It would continue to provide training to farmers in advanced techniques and encourage them to grow rice to VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards, he said.
The province would promote trading and urge more rice companies to sign contracts with farmers, he added. – VNS