Farmers harvest rice in Bạc Liêu Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Huỳnh Sử
BẠC LIÊU — The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Bạc Liêu wants at least 50 per cent of its rice production to have guaranteed buyers by the end of this year to ensure farmers have a secure income.
The rate is 30-40 per cent now.
Trịnh Hoài Thanh, deputy director of its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the agriculture sector would be reorganised to develop linkages between farmers, co-operatives and exporters.
The department would enable companies to tie up with farmers to ensure the latter’s produce is consumed, and this would create conditions for the former to expand their markets, he said.
In recent years, many companies and co-operatives have signed contracts with farmers to buy their produce.
In the aquaculture sector too, co-operative teams and co-operatives have tied up with companies to guarantee outlets for their members.
The Long Điền Đông Aquaculture Co-operative Team in Đông Hải District’s Long Điền Đông Commune, for example, has signed a contract with a seafood export company to buy its 95 members’ output.
They breed organic shrimp in 500ha of mangrove forests in Long Điền Đông Commune.
Their shrimp are bought at VNĐ15,000-30,000 a kilogramme higher than market rates.
However, co-operation between producers and buyers remains limited, Dương Thành Trung, chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, admitted.
The province grows one million tonnes of paddy a year but only 30-40 per cent of them have guaranteed buyers, he said.
The rates are even lower for other agricultural products like shrimp and salt, he said.
Rice is the main source of income for farmers in the province, but most grow on a small scale and do not use advanced farming techniques, resulting in high costs and uneven quality.
In recent years the province has developed large-scale rice fields to develop linkages between farmers and companies and improve the former’s incomes.
Farmers who pooled their lands to create large-scale rice fields have seen incomes increase by VNĐ3-5 million per hectare per crop.
Trần Văn Nam of Phước Long District’s Hưng Phú Commune said large-scale rice field model enabled farmers to use advanced farming techniques while demand was assured.
“Therefore, the yields increased and the lives of participating farmers have improved.”
The province has 23 large-scale fields with a total area of 11,600ha.
It plans to develop five more with a total area of 25,000ha this year and six with an area of 31,000ha next year.
To achieve the targets, the department is strengthening investment in infrastructure like irrigation systems, facilities for drying and processing rice and rural roads.
It encourages farmers to set up co-operative teams and co-operatives and link up with companies.
It has encouraged companies to invest in producing inputs for agriculture and expanding outlets for produce. — VNS