Farmers harvest rice in Vi Thuy district in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) - The Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang plans to expand the cultivation area planted with certified rice to 60-70 percent of its total rice cultivation.

About 40 percent of the province’s 80,000ha of rice are planted with certified rice seeds, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Nguyen Van Dong, director of the department, said the province’s agricultural sector was cooperating with research institutes and universities to produce new high-quality rice varieties.

Last month, the province’s Agricultural Seed Centre signed a cooperation agreement with the Mekong Rice Research Institute to produce new rice varieties which will have a Hau Giang brand name. The institute will also provide techniques to the centre in how to create new rice varieties.

In addition, as of May, more than 5,000ha of rice in Hau Giang had been guaranteed outlets through linkages between farmers and enterprises in planting rice, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

In Vi Thuy District, for instance, more than 100ha of the 2015-16 winter-spring rice in Vi Thang Commune’s Hamlet 9 and Hamlet 11 have been guaranteed outlets by the Cong Binh Private Enterprise.

Nguyen V a n T a o, who owns 3ha of rice fields in Hamlet 11, said his family began participating in the cooperation model for the 2015-16 winter-spring rice and earned a profit of 110 million VND (5,000 USD) for this crop.

The profit is 40 million VND (1,800 USD) higher than in previous rice crops, he said.

In the next winter-spring rice crop 2016-17, Vi Thuy District targets a yield of 124,400-127,700 tonnes, up about 7 percent against the last winter-spring rice crop.

Tran Hong Tim, Head of the Vi Thuy Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau, said the bureau would encourage farmers to use more certified rice seeds to increase yield and quality.

The bureau will also encourage farmers to apply advanced farming techniques.

In the 2015-16 winter-spring crop, Hau Giang achieved the lowest production costs in growing rice compared to the delta’s other provinces and Can Tho , according to the Ministry of Finance.

Hau Giang spent about 2,802 VND planting one kilo of paddy.

Advanced farming techniques, high-quality seeds and rice production models that use less material inputs have helped the province reduce production costs, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development .

About 80 percent of rice in Hau Giang is now harvested by combine machines.-VNA