Farmers of the Trường Khương A Commune Co-operative in Cần Thơ City use bags to protect young milk apples from pests. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Liêm
CẦN THƠ — More rice farmers in Cần Thơ City have switched to other crops or have rotated the cultivation of rice with other crops to increase income and cope with drought.
Farmer Trần Ngọc Thới in Ô Môn District’s Trường Lạc Ward, for example, turned his 1ha of rice field to Ido longan two years ago.
He harvested longan early this year and had a yield of 8.8 tonnes, with a profit of VNĐ200 million (US$8,600) from the first crop. Profits from longan are three times higher than from rice, he said.
Most rice fields in Trường Lạc Ward had switched to high-value fruit like durian, longan and jackfruit, he said.
Other farmers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta city rotated the cultivation of rice and other short-term crops to save irrigation water.
Lê Thanh Phong, who owns 2.1ha of rice field in Thốt Nốt District’s Thuận An Ward, said he would switch to sesame and watermelon for the summer-autumn crop because of prolonged hot weather and the high location of his field.
In last year’s summer-autumn crop, he grew 0.6ha of sesame and earned a high profit of VNĐ35 million ($1,500) a crop.
Thốt Nốt is estimated to have 580ha of sesame and vegetables this year, up 50ha against last year, according to the district’s Economic Bureau.
Nguyễn Thị Mãi, deputy head of the bureau, said the district had helped farmers restructure their crops properly to save irrigation water, and adapt to unfavourable conditions. The restructuring would improve income for farmers, she said.
The city last year turned 2,292ha of rice fields into fruit and other crops, according to the city’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The profit is two to four times higher than rice.
The city has 19.53ha of fruit and 13,249ha of vegetables, up 6.8 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively, against 2018.
Many farmers in the city have also developed urban agriculture and expanded fruit orchards that offer tourism services. The city has 37 fruit orchards that offer tourism services, mostly in Phong Điền, Cái Răng and Thốt Nốt districts. They grow mostly durian, mango, milk apple and rambutan.
The city has encouraged farmers to restructure their crops toward increasing value and quality for sustainable agriculture.
It has also encouraged farmers to join co-operatives or co-operative groups, which can work with companies that can guarantee outlets for farmers.
Trương Văn Kiệm, deputy head of the Cần Thơ Co-operative Alliance, said that under the collective farming model, farmers were supplied quality plant seeds and breeding animals, and provided cultivation techniques and disease prevention and control methods.
“Most participating farmers have stable guaranteed outlets so they are not reducing prices to traders.” — VNS