Farmers who grow pineapple and rice and breed shrimp on the same field in Kiên Giang Province’s Gò Quao District are earning higher incomes. – VNA/VNS Photo Lê Sen
KIÊN GIANG – Farmers are seeing higher incomes from using the same field to grow pineapple and rice and breed shrimp in Kiên Giang Province’s Gò Quao District.
Under the farming model, each pineapple field is separated by ridges with small ditches around them. Farmers grow pineapples on the large ridge and grow rice at the ridge edge. In the small ditches, which are used to hold water to irrigate pineapple, farmers breed black tiger shrimp.
Lê Minh Mão, of the district’s Vĩnh Phước A Commune, has earned about VNĐ70 million (US$3,000) from pineapple, VNĐ13 – 15 million ($560 - 640) from shrimp and VNĐ3 million ($130) from rice per hectare a year.
The profits from shrimp breeding are enough to buy fertiliser for growing pineapples, while the rice harvests are sufficient for his family and for sale, he said.
The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta district has alum-affected soil and is affected by saltwater intrusion for about six months during the dry season every year.
Pineapple is its main crop as the fruit develops well on the district’s soil.
Previously, farmers planted only pineapples on the large ridges and left the small ditches and the ridge edges uncultivated. In recent years, to improve income, they have bred shrimp in the ditches and then grown rice on the edges.
Lâm Quốc Nam, deputy chairman of the Vĩnh Phước A People’s Committee, said the commune was focusing on pineapple cultivation but the price sometimes was low as farmers did not have guaranteed outlets.
To improve income, farmers began to breed black tiger shrimp in the small ditch and grow rice on the ridge edges in recent years, he said.
Farmers breeding black tiger shrimp on pineapple fields do not need to buy food for shrimp as they eat natural food. Shrimp bred under the model are clean and sell for a high price as chemicals are not used to breed them.
The district now has more than 4,000ha of pineapples and nearly 3,000ha of them are planted under the pineapple – shrimp – rice farming model, mostly in Vĩnh Phước A and Vĩnh Thắng communes.
Farmers earn an average profit of VNĐ100 million ($4,300) per hectare a year from the pineapple – shrimp – rice farming model, according to the Gò Quao Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Dương Duy Duyệt, deputy head of the bureau, said the district plans to develop its pineapple area to 5,000ha, and 50 per cent of them will be planted under the pineapple - shrimp - rice farming model by 2025.
The pineapple - shrimp - rice farming model will be expanded to other communes in the district.
For sustainability, the farmers will use Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards as well as organic standards which allow for the origin to be traced.
In addition, farmers will work with companies which will guarantee selling outlets, he said, adding that this would improve production efficiency.
The Phước An pineapple - shrimp co-operative in Vĩnh Phước A Commune, for instance, has 60 members who have 100ha of pineapple – shrimp – rice farming area.
Previously, the members grew their crops individually, and the yield and quality of their produce were not high, he said. However, they now grow their crop under the co-operative’s instructions, so the yield and quality are higher.
Members of the co-operative each have an average income of VNĐ70 – 700 million ($3,000 – 30,000) a year, he said. – VNS