Harvesting rice in Long An Province. The province aims to increase the cultivation of high-quality rice varieties and the use of technology in 2020-25 to help improve farmers’ incomes. — Photo baolongan.vn
LONG AN — The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Long An plans to increase its rate of high-quality rice cultivation to 70 -75 per cent during 2021 – 25 from the current 50 per cent, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
It aims to produce 2.5 million tonnes of grain annually during the period.
Nguyễn Thanh Truyền, director of the department, said to achieve the targets advocacy of environmental protection and improving the quality of agricultural produce would be undertaken.
The province would speed up construction of irrigation works like water pumping stations, ditches in crop fields and saltwater prevention sluices, research and create suitable sowing schedules, identify rice varieties to be grown in each locality, and organise courses to train farmers in farming techniques, he said.
It will focus on implementing an existing programme to develop high-tech agriculture and increase its high-tech rice farming area from the current 20,000ha to 60,000ha by 2025.
Last year the province produced 2.8 million tonnes of rice, including some high-quality varieties like Đài Thơm 8, OM 4900, Nàng Hoa 9, ST24, and ST25.
ST25 won the first prize at the 2019 World’s Best Rice Contest.
In 2013 the province zoned more than 48,000ha for growing high – quality varieties in 25 communes in the Đồng Tháp Mười (Plain of Reeds) region to serve exports, improve efficiency and enhance farmers’ incomes.
In these areas, farmers have to use advanced techniques like ‘one must and five reductions’ and ‘three reductions and three increases.’
The former requires farmers to use certified seeds, and reduce seedlings, plant protection chemicals, nitrogen fertilisers, irrigation, and post-harvest losses.
Trần Văn Lắm, who uses advanced techniques to grow rice in Tân Thạnh District’s Bắc Hòa Commune, said he is able to reduce the use of seeds for sowing by 20 – 50 kilogramme per hectare and fertilisers by 20 – 30 per cent compared to traditional methods.
His costs are down by VNĐ2 – 2.5 million (US$90 - 110) per hectare while yields are 500 – 800 kg higher, he said.
“The income is VNĐ 4 – 6 million ($170 - 260) per hectare higher.”
The high-quality varieties, too, fetch farmers higher incomes.
Lê Hoàng Phi in Thạnh Hóa District’s Tân Đông Commune has switched to glutinous rice variety IR 4625 in his 1.5ha field because of its high quality, resistance to diseases and steady demand and price.
He uses technology, organic fertilisers and bio-products to meet market demand and earns VNĐ50 million ($2,160) a year, he said.
Long An is expected to have 498,300ha under rice this year, slightly down from last year, according to the department.
The average rice yield is expected to be 140kg higher than last year at 5.6 tonnes per hectare. VNS