|Honeydew melons grown in a net house with drip irrigation in Đồng Tháp Province. —Photo baodongthap.vn
ĐỒNG THÁP — The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Đồng Tháp has encouraged farmers and farming companies to improve the efficiency of their irrigation to increase yields and reduces costs.
They have adopted spray and drip irrigation for nearly 25,000ha of crops.
Efficient irrigation improves yields by 25 per cent and saves 45 per cent water, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
This translates into 20 per cent higher incomes.
It also helps crops cope well with conditions like drought and climate change.
Lê Vũ Hùng of Lấp Vò District’s Tân Khánh Trung Commune invested in a drip irrigation system in 2018 for his 4,000sq.m net house where he grows cucumber, honeydew melon and other vegetables fruits.
It helps him grow clean crops and save labour costs since irrigation is controlled automatically.
He can grow four crops a year in the net house and earn an annual income of VNĐ600 – 800 million (US$25,800 – 34,500).
Many fruit farmers in Châu Thành and Lai Vung districts and Cao Lãnh City use efficient irrigation systems, thus saving VNĐ25.8 million ($1,100) per hectare per year, according to the department.
The province has provided subsidies to farmers in many districts for building net houses with efficient irrigation systems to grow fruits, vegetables, flowers, ornamental plants, and other crops in recent years.
The province is one of the largest producers in the delta of rice, mango and flower, and 70 per cent of its population lives in rural areas.
Yet, efficient irrigation systems remain few and far between, understandably so since the cost of installing them is high and many farmers cannot afford them, according to the department.
Besides, spray irrigation requires large use of power, which the local grid cannot meet since it barely meets household demand.
Many farmers in the province in fact depend on diesel pumps to irrigate their crops.
Authorities encourage farmers to invest in solar power systems for irrigation.
In Tháp Mười District, the Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development has provided subsidies to some farmers to invest in solar power.
Nguyễn Dương Tiễn of Tháp Mười’s Thanh Mỹ, one of them, spent about VNĐ130 million ($5,600), including VNĐ30 million worth of subsidy from the bureau, to install a solar system last year.
He now saves VNĐ1.3 – 1.5 million ($56 – 65) a month while irrigating his 1.2ha fruit orchard.
He expects to recover the cost of the solar system within five to six years and the system has a guarantee period of 20 years.
“Using a solar power system can save much money and surplus power can be sold to the power grid.”
Bùi Văn Sơn, deputy head of the bureau, said the bureau would collaborate with relevant agencies to further advocate solar power and encourage farmers to invest in it.
“This will help save production costs and increase efficiency”. — VNS