|Harvest of the 2020 – 21 winter – spring rice in Kiên Giang Province. – VNA/VNS Photo Lê Huy Hải|
HCM CITY – The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta has harvested the 2020 – 21 winter – spring rice crop with farmers successfully avoiding the impacts of saltwater intrusion and managing high yields and getting high prices, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
More than one million of the 1.59 million hectares planted have been harvested so far, with an average yield of seven tonnes per hectare, 214kg higher than the last winter – spring rice and the highest in the last five years.
The country’s rice granary reduced the area under the grain by 27,210ha this season, fearful of possible saltwater intrusion in rivers.
Fragrant and speciality varieties accounted for more than 21 per cent and high-quality varieties for 60 per cent, a slight increase from last year.
On the instructions of local authorities, farmers started sowing the crop in October last year, 20 – 30 days earlier than normal, hoping to avoid the saltwater intrusion that often occurs at the end of the crop.
This and prompt forecasts of saltwater intrusion have helped farmers get high yields, according to the ministry’s plant cultivation department.
Speaking at a seminar in Cần Thơ City on Wednesday, Lê Thanh Tùng, deputy head of the department, said saltwater intrusion is still severe but the winter – spring crop was not affected, and farmers earned 45 per cent profits.
Nguyễn Ngọc Hè, deputy chairman of Cần Thơ City, said the harvest was basically complete and the average yield had been 7.6 tonnes per hectare, the highest in a long time.
The city’s farmers planted mostly speciality, fragrant and high-quality varieties, he added.
Delta farmers adopted various effective farming models like large-scale rice fields and organic rice farming models and grew rice to Vietnamese and global good agricultural practice standards.
Large-scale rice fields accounted for 160,000ha with the land owners linking up with food companies to grow rice to their requirements but with purchase guaranteed.
Next rice crops
The delta plans to plant rice on 1.52 million hectares in the summer - autumn and 725,000ha in the autumn – winter crops this year, according to the ministry.
The former is more than 3,700ha down from last year due to restructuring and fears of saltwater intrusion.
Farmers have already sown more than 300,000ha.
They expect a yield of 5.6 tonnes, up 740kg from last year.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Lê Quốc Doanh said the crop would be very important and farmers should be focused on growing area, yield and output.
They and local authorities should comply with approved sowing schedules and stick to varieties suitable for their respective areas to escape the impacts of saltwater intrusion and diseases, he warned.
The latter should foster advanced rice farming techniques to reduce the use of seeds and water and prevent diseases, he added. – VNS