|Growing organic vegetables at an agriculture co-operative in Kiên Giang Province’s Rạch Giá City. – VNA/VNS Photo Vũ Sinh
KIÊN GIANG – The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Kiên Giang will spend nearly VNĐ30 billion (US$1.3 million) this year to support the development of the collective economy and new co-operatives.
Nguyễn Giang Thành, deputy chairman of the province’s People’s Committee, said the province will focus on improving the operational efficiency of co-operatives.
It will provide professional skills in management, production and business for members of co-operatives and co-operative groups.
It will also organise trade promotion activities for the products of co-operatives and co-operative groups, which will be provided a part of the cost of participating in trade fairs, exhibitions and forums at home and abroad.
The province will help co-operatives and co-operative groups with brand names and origin traceability, and provide them with a part of the cost of renting places for showing and selling their products.
The province will offer support to four co-operatives to build facilities for agricultural processing this year. They include the Tân Huy Hoàng Aquaculture Breeding Co-operative in Hà Tiên City, the Gò Quao Youth Organic Agriculture Co-operative and the Thuận Phát Handicraft Co-operative in Gò Quao District, and the Hiểu Phát Agriculture Service Co-operative in Vĩnh Thuận District.
Tân Huy Hoàng, for instance, will be given financial support to build a workshop for initial processing of products and packaging of products, as well as other production facilities.
Kiên Giang, the country’s largest rice producer, has 2,228 co-operative groups, including 1,989 agriculture co-operative groups which have a total farming area of nearly 72,000ha and create jobs for 7,000 labourers.
Many co-operative groups rotate rice cultivation and shrimp breeding in the same fields, engage in aquaculture, breed cows, make handicraft products, grow flowers, or provide irrigation services.
They operate effectively and can be developed into co-operatives, according to the province’s Co-operative Alliance.
Under the 2012 Co-Operative Law, a co-operative group must have at least three members, and a co-operative should have at least seven members.
The province has 462 co-operatives, including 410 agriculture co-operatives, up 200 co-operatives against 2016.
The agriculture co-operatives cultivate rice and other crops on a total of 59,517ha, accounting for 12.8 per cent of the province’s total farming land, according to the province’s Co-operative Alliance.
The co-operatives have helped their members to apply advanced farming techniques and reduce the number of input materials used in agricultural production. This has increased the income of their members by VNĐ700,000 – 3.2 million ($30 - 140) per hectare a crop.
Many co-operatives have developed value chains for the province’s key products as well as linkages with companies that buy products.
The Tân Hưng Agriculture Co-operative in Châu Thành District’s Giục Tượng Commune has co-operated with companies to grow rice and secure outlets for its members.
Lê Minh Hải, chairman of Tân Hưng, said the co-operative’s rice growing areas have farm contracts and the members no longer worry about outlets.
“The life of co-operative members has improved and no one is poor,” he said.
The Rạch Giá Organic Agriculture Co-operative in Rạch Giá City rotates rice cultivation and shrimp breeding under organic standards on a total area of 50ha in An Biên District.
The co-operative’s three rice products - Kim Thiên Lộc Nàng Hương rice, Kim Thiên Lộc red brown rice and Kim Thiên Lộc black brown rice - have been certified as four-star OCOP products under the country’s one commune – one product (OCOP) programme in which the highest level is five stars.
The co-operative produces 125 – 130 tonnes of the three rice products a year and sells them mostly to supermarkets.
Trần Thanh Dũng, chairman of the province’s Co-operative Alliance, said the province will develop co-operatives that produce the province’s key products with value chains and high export value.
“The province encourages co-operatives in sectors and fields suited to the economic zoning plan and with linkages [with companies] to produce high-quality products with brand names for export,” he said.
The province plans to establish 15 new co-operatives, including nine agriculture co-operatives, and 50 co-operatives groups this year.
The province aims to have more than 85 per cent of its co-operatives see profits this year. VNS