|Harvesting watermelon in Sóc Trăng Province’s Trần Đề District. – VNA/VNS Photo Trung Hiếu
SÓC TRĂNG – The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Sóc Trăng is expanding the model of building net houses for growing vegetables as it seeks to increase output of clean vegetables.
It has 105 net houses covering a total area of 5.7ha, according to its Plant Cultivation and Protection Sub-department.
Lý Hường of Châu Thành District’s Thuận Hòa Commune has been growing vegetables in a net house for five years.
His produce is bought by shops selling clean vegetables in the province and elsewhere.
The province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development encourages farmers to build net houses and subsidises their cost by 70 per cent.
It targets building 16 new net houses with a combined area of 8,000sq.m this year. A hectare is 10,000sq.m.
It also plans to teach vegetable growing techniques to members of 200 households and two vegetable co-operatives this year.
Earlier this year it helped two households in Vĩnh Châu Town build a 500sq.m net house each and grow leafy vegetables.
Liêu Hoàng Sơn, whose family is one of the two, grows leafy vegetables like water spinach and mustard greens and sells them at VNĐ10,000 per kilogramme to the kitchen of a local company.
“Growing vegetables in net house is effective since they are safeguarded from diseases,” he said.
Thạch Thị Hiền, head of the town’s Plant Cultivation and Protection Station, said the station had instructed the two households in vegetable farming.
Town authorities had contacted schools and wholesale markets to help farmers growing vegetables in net houses sell to them, she said.
The expansion of the model faces many difficulties because of the small scale of production by the province’s farmers, according to the sub-department.
Besides, most households that grow vegetables in net houses have to find markets by themselves.
To promote clean vegetables, the province has helped co-operatives open clean vegetable shops around districts and towns.
Lê Công Duy, director of the Phú Tân Craft Village Co-operative in Châu Thành District, said the co-operative’s clean vegetable shop sold to school kitchens.
The shop bought clean vegetables from nine net houses in Châu Thành and Mỹ Tú districts and supplied more than 120kg a day to the schools, he said.
The province has more than 50,500ha under vegetables and other short-term crops, 2,500ha higher than a year ago following the conversion of rice and sugarcane fields, according to the sub-department.
The cultivation of vegetables and other short-term crops in the province is done in zoned areas and so there is adequate water for irrigation even in the dry season. – VNS