The production of forest tree seedlings by the Hamlet 8 Forest Tree Seedling Producing Co-operative Group in Hòn Đất District’s Sơn Kiên Commune in Kiên Giang Province. – VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Đạt
KIÊN GIANG – The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kiên Giang is taking measures to retain its forest coverage rate at 11 per cent, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Hoàng Văn Tuấn, deputy director of the department, said the province is promoting forest protection and forest fire prevention to relevant individuals and organisations.
It has strengthened inspections of violations of forest protection regulations, especially in important localities like the island districts of Phú Quốc and Kiên Hải and protective forests along coastal areas, he said.
Kiên Giang has more than 82,650ha devoted to growing forests. Of the figure, 46,230ha are natural forests, while 14,678ha are man-made forests. The remaining area has no forests.
The province, which has the largest land area in the Delta, has adjusted its zoning for special use forests, protective forests and production forests. It has turned a part of ineffective production forest areas into agricultural production areas.
The province has achieved its target of growing forests every year, focusing on planting protective forests along coastal areas to prevent erosion and cope with climate change.
It has also allocated about 4,000ha of forested lands in coastal areas for local households and organisations to protect. The forest-allocated households have improved their incomes by exploiting forest resources and breeding aquatic species in forested land.
Forest tree nursery
The production of forest tree seedlings has offered high and stable income for farmers who participate in the Hamlet 8 Forest Tree Seedling Producing Co-operative Group in Sơn Kiên Commune in the province’s Hòn Đất District.
Farmers in Hamlet 8 have produced forest tree seedlings, including acacia and cajuput, for nearly 30 years and their income has been stable since joining the co-operative group, which was established in 2013 and is guaranteed outlets by companies.
Nguyễn Văn Bình, head of the co-operative group, said the group is the only one of its kind specialising in producing forest tree seedlings in the province.
The co-operative group produces more than 100 million seedlings a year and is guaranteed outlets at a price of VNĐ150 a seedling by companies in Kiên Giang and other provinces in the Delta.
Its membership has increased from 11 in 2013 to 20 now.
The members have been provided soft loans and advanced techniques to produce quality seedlings, so they now have stable profits.
Nguyễn Văn Dũng, a co-operative group member, said he had planted rice but his farmland was not large, and he did not have a high income.
After participating in the co-operative group, he was provided soft loans to buy seeds and has been guaranteed outlets.
“My family has a high income now, earning about VNĐ200 million (US$8,600) a year. The lives of my family are stable now,” he said.
It takes farmers about four months to produce seedlings after sowing. Farmers who produce seedlings often hire three to four labourers to tend the seedlings.
The co-operative group has created jobs for more than 100 local labourers with a monthly income of VNĐ4 – 5 million ($170 - 220).
Nguyễn Bích Diệu, deputy chairwoman of the Sơn Kiên Commune Farmers Association, said the production of forest tree seedlings has created a stable livelihood for locals.
The commune will encourage more farmers to participate in the co-operative group and expand their seedling production to improve income, she said.– VNS