|Famers harvest the summer – autumn rice crop in Kiên Giang Province’s Hòn Đất District. – VNA/VNS Photo Lê Huy Hải|
KIÊN GIANG – Agricultural production in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kiên Giang has developed significantly after a restructuring effort and implementation of new–style rural areas.
The province, the country’s largest rice producer, has turned more than 30,000ha of ineffective rice fields into fields that rotate rice and vegetables or rice and shrimp, the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has said.
Nearly 50,000ha of large-scale rice fields and other specialised rice growing areas grow high quality rice varieties and fragrant rice varieties under Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards.
Advanced farming techniques are also used in many farming models.
The smart rice farming model uses smart rice seeding, transplanting machines, and other smart devices that irrigate rice fields. The model uses fewer rice seeds and less pesticides and fertiliser compared to traditional rice farming methods, while the yield and quality are not less than that of traditional rice farming methods.
The Cây Chôm Agriculture Service Co-operative in Hòn Đất District’s Lình Huỳnh Commune has implemented the smart rice farming model since early last year.
Nguyễn Thị Hồng Thu, a co-operative member who grows DS rice variety on a 3ha field under the model, said that advanced technologies had reduced production costs and increased profits.
The development of agriculture co-operatives has also led to an increase in agricultural products as well as quality, thus increasing value.
The province is expected to grow a total of 800,000ha of rice with a total output of 4.3 million tonnes this year. It aims to achieve an agricultural production value of VNĐ130 – 170 million (US$5,600 – 7,300) per hectare a year in the 2021- 25 period
Đỗ Minh Nhựt, deputy director of the department, said the province is restructuring production by creating suitable farming areas for each agricultural product.
It is building linkages among stakeholders to ensure outlets and will apply good agricultural practices, he said.
In addition, the province is developing clean and organic agricultural products and high-tech agricultural products. It will also zone farming areas suiting for aquaculture in localities.
The province breeds nearly 300,000 tonnes of seafood, including 85,000 tonnes of shrimp, and catches about 450,000 tonnes of seafood from the sea each year.
Nhựt said: “The province will reduce the catching of seafood to preserve natural seafood resources and increase aquaculture production, mostly the breeding of shrimp, fish and bivalvia mollusc species near shore."
New-style rural areas
The effective implementation of restructuring agriculture has enhanced the process of building new - style rural areas, according to the department.
The average income of people in rural areas has reached VNĐ50 million ($2,150) a year.
Hoàng Văn Tuấn, deputy director of the department, said the building of new – style rural areas has developed widely and the material and spiritual lives of people in rural areas have improved.
As many as 78 of its 117 rural communes have met all 19 criteria set under the new rural style programme, a 25 per cent increase over the province’s target of building new- style rural areas set for the 2015 -20 period, he said.
The criteria for the programme are related to planning, infrastructure, transport, irrigation, electricity, income, education, healthcare, environment, social security, culture and others.
Tân Hiệp became the province’s first district to meet all 19 criteria in 2015. Gò Quao and Giồng Riềng districts are petitioning to be acknowledged this year.
In 2015 - 20, the province invested more than VNĐ26 trillion ($1.1 billion) for agriculture and rural development.
Irrigation systems in the province have met the demand for irrigation, flood and saltwater intrusion control. All communes have access to national power grids and 80 per cent of roads in hamlets are paved with cement or asphalt. Up to 99 per cent of households in the province use standard quality water.
Poor household support
Kiên Giang has provided support for poor households, including ethnic households, to enable them to do agricultural production and other jobs.
The province has spent nearly VNĐ23 billion ($1million) for the programme of "developing production and diversifying livelihoods for reducing poverty" since 2014.
The programme has carried out 113 poverty reduction projects, established 24 agriculture extension clubs, and provided seedlings and fertilisers to poor households.
It has also built 18 clean water supply projects to serve 13,300 households in poor areas, and 15 of them have been put into use.
Nhựt, deputy director of the department, said the province is estimated to spend about VNĐ40 billion ($1.7 million) for the programme of developing production and diversifying livelihoods for reducing poverty in the 2020 -24 period.
The programme will implement 315 poverty reduction projects to support 3,400 households in the period.
The province also plans to raise public awareness of poverty reduction programmes and expand extension activities for agriculture, forestry and aquaculture production to help ethnic households escape poverty. VNS