Farmers in Kiên Giang Province’s Hòn Đất District prepare soil for sowing the 2019–20 winter–spring rice crop. — VNA/VNS Photo Lê Huy Hải
KIÊN GIANG — The income per capita of rural residents in Kiên Giang Province, the country’s largest rice producer, has reached VNĐ46.2 million (US$1,990) a year, up 1.5 times against 2015, mostly due to the use of new farming models and agricultural restructuring.
The figure is higher than the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta’s income per capita in rural areas (VNĐ36.7 million) and the country’s income per capita in rural areas (VNĐ35.8 million), according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Under the national programme on new-style rural areas, the province has seen good results in recent years.
Đỗ Minh Nhựt, deputy director of the department, said the province had strongly encouraged farmers to use new seed varieties and advanced techniques as well as farming models that adapt to climate change.
More farmers are also applying Vietnamese and global good agricultural practices (VietGAP and GlobalGAP) standards.
Many large-scale rice fields in the province plant high-yield and quality rice varieties for export, while environmentally friendly concentrated shrimp areas use intensive farming methods.
Hoàng Trung Kiên, director of the province’s Agriculture Extension Centre, said that the number of large-scale rice fields this year increased by 44 per cent against last year. The 213 large-scale fields cover 75,000ha, of which 71,000ha have been guaranteed outlets for their products.
Farmers have also turned many inefficient rice fields to rice-shrimp fields that grow shrimp in the dry season and rice in the rainy season.
These rice-shrimp fields expanded from 77,866ha in 2015 to 83,458ha last year, the largest area in the delta. An additional 20,000ha of rice-shrimp fields will be implemented after 2020, according to the department.
Aquaculture in coastal areas has developed rapidly with many farmed aquatic species such as black tiger shrimp, white-legged shrimp, river giant prawns, bivalve mollusks, and brackish water and freshwater fish.
Nhựt said that irrigation systems had controlled flooding and saltwater intrusion, and had met the demand for breeding shrimp under industrial and semi-industrial farming models.
The province expects to harvest 256,000 tonnes of farmed aquatic species this year, including 78,000 tonnes of shrimp, according to the department. Rice and shrimp are the province’s two key products.
The province has encouraged farmers to use semi-intensive and intensive shrimp farming, breed marine fish in floating cages, rotate shrimp and rice on the same field, and grow organic pepper.
Many farmers in Kiên Lương District’s Hòa Điền Commune are rotating the breeding of shrimp and crab and rice cultivation on the same field, earning high incomes.
Under this model, farmers plant rice in September, harvest rice in December, and then pump water into the rice field to breed shrimp and crabs.
Nguyễn Phước Du, who was the first farmer to use the model on his 6ha rice field in Hòa Điền, has earned a profit of VNĐ250-300 million ($10,800-12,900) a year.
“Shrimp breeding under this model does not need much medicine or chemicals, which cuts production costs,” he said.
Having disease-free shrimp and crab fry for breeding is also very important, according to Du.
The commune has a co-operative with 15 members who are using a rice-crab rotation model on a total area of 50ha.
Giang Văn Thôm, chairman of the Hòa Điền Commune Farmers Association, said the association would work with the commune's People’s Committee to establish more co-operatives to improve incomes.
Farmer Phù Văn Khên in Phú Quốc District’s Bãi Thơm Commune earns a profit of VNĐ400 million ($17,200) a year from his mixed-farming model in which he grows forestry trees and fruit trees.
Besides breeding deer and wild boar, and raising fish in three ponds, he offers food and room services for tourists. He also employs 10 workers who are paid VNĐ5-6 million ($215-260) a month.
In the last two years, Khên donated 2,000sq.m of land and more than VNĐ100 million ($4,300) to build a rural road and support poor locals.
The new-style rural area programme in the province has received support and contributions from local residents and companies to build infrastructure like roads and irrigation works.
Mai An Nhịn, deputy director of the province’s People’s Committee, said: “The new-style rural area programme … has improved production efficiency, labour value of rural residents, and farmers' incomes.”
The province expects to mobilise about VNĐ29.2 trillion ($1.26 billion) from various sources, including central and local budgets and donations from locals and companies, for the new-style rural area programme in the 2010-20 period.
The province has more than 728,400ha of rice fields that produce about 4.2 million tonnes of paddy each year. — VNS