A dragon fruit orchard in Bình Thuận Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Thanh
BÌNH THUẬN — The south-central province of Bình Thuận has set up concentrated cultivation areas for key farm produce after six years of restructuring agricultural production.
The province’s key produce like dragon fruit, rubber and shrimp fry have large concentrated cultivating areas and use advanced farming techniques.
Mai Kiều, director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said under the province’s agricultural restructuring plan, the province has gradually shifted from individual and small - scale production to production with linkages among stakeholders.
“The province has determined that restructuring agriculture must include advanced farming techniques to enhance competitiveness and sustainable development,” he said.
The province, which is the country’s largest dragon fruit producer, has established concentrated dragon fruit growing areas with a total of 10,000ha that meet Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards.
The VietGAP quality dragon fruit areas account for 35 per cent of the province’s total dragon fruit area.
Farmers have used organic fertiliser and bio-products to grow VietGAP quality dragon fruits and applied efficient irrigation methods like automatic spraying and drip irrigation to save water.
Besides the VietGAP quality dragon fruit areas, the province is developing the cultivation of dragon fruit with advanced techniques, including growing dragon fruit vines on trellises, mostly in Hàm Thuận Nam, Hàm Thuận Bắc and Bắc Bình districts.
The model of growing dragon fruit vines on trellises saves growing space and has a yield of two times higher than traditional farming methods, according to dragon fruit growers.
Đỗ Minh Kính, director of the province’s Department of Industry and Trade, said the province’s dragon fruits have been exported to 15 markets in Asia, Europe and America.
Besides producing fresh dragon, the province has also produced processed dragon fruit products such as juice, dried dragon fruit and wines. Such products have received warm responses from consumers.
Under its agricultural restructuring plan, Bình Thuận has turned ineffective rice fields to grow other drought-resistant crops that have high value such as dragon fruit, grape and mango.
Last year, farmers transferred more than 3,000ha of rice to grow other crops, according to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The province had 192,990ha of farmland last year, including 118,000ha of rice.
Up to 80 per cent of the rice farming area have used certified seeds for cultivation and improving rice quality and yield.
The province has encouraged rice farmers to rotate growing rice in the rainy season and growing drought-resistant crops in the dry season to secure irrigation water for crops in drought-prone areas.
In Tuy Phong District, which is one of the province’s driest areas, farmers have switched to grow dragon fruit, grape, mango and coconut as the crops offer high value and are suitable for adapting to drought conditions.
The province is building a 2,000ha hi-tech agriculture zone in Bắc Bình District to develop high value and drought-resistant crops, including onions, garlic and medicinal plants.
Lê Tuấn Phong, deputy chairman of the province’s People’s Committee, said the province will focus on expanding suitable farming models in its agricultural restructuring.
The province will boost linkages among stakeholders to develop value chains for agricultural produce, he said. – VNS