Farmer Tran Bao in Ca Mau city's Hoa Tan commune breeds shrimp under the super-intensive farming model. (Photo: VNA)

Ca Mau (VNS/VNA) - 
The Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau has developed more clean farming models for shrimp and rice that meet Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards and organic standards to meet the rising demand for them, especially in export markets.

It has carried out a project to farm high-quality shrimp and rice to VietGAP standards in Ca Mau city’s Ly Van Lam commune.

Farmers grow rice in the rainy season and raise shrimp in the dry season in the same fields, and both are clean due to the low use of chemicals.

The project, implemented on a total area of 120ha, helps produce high-quality rice and shrimp, improving farmers’ incomes.

Phan Hoang Minh of Ca Mau city’s Division of Agriculture and Rural Development said the participating farmers harvested seven tonnes of rice per hectare in the last crop, two tonnes more than in the same crop last year.

“The project will be expanded to an additional 80ha next month when farmers begin a new rice crop.”

Pham Van Mich, director of the province’s Agriculture Seed Centre, said the project was new but proceeding on schedule and churning out high-quality produce.

The model is especially suitable for use in coastal areas where salinity in rivers is rising due to intrusion of seawater, according to Mich.

The rice varieties planted under the project include ‘tai nguyen’, ‘tep hanh’ and ‘mot bui’, which are resistant to saltwater and disease and delicious.

Nguyen Van Tranh, deputy director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said rice was one of the four key agricultural products chosen for the agriculture restructuring plan.

The department would zone areas for growing high-quality VietGAP rice, he said.

Ca Mau has more than 85,000ha under rice and 40,000ha of shrimp-rice farms. 

It has another 280,849ha of shrimp farms, or 40 percent of the country’s total, and accounts for 30 percent of the country’s shrimp exports.

The province produces 120,000 tonnes of shrimp a year, according to its Aquaculture Sub-department.  

Its shrimp are bred under various models such as traditional extensive farming, advanced extensive farming, intensive farming, and super intensive farming.

Intensive and super intensive farming are done on more than 2,000ha, with the latter yielding an average of 40-50 tonnes of shrimp per hectare per crop.

Thai Minh Tuan, who does intensive farming of shrimp in Dam Doi district’s Tran Phan commune, said though the weather had been unfavourable recently his shrimp did not contract serious diseases because he used biofloc technology to manage water quality.

Water quality and shrimp fry were the two important factors for a successful shrimp crop, he said.

Many shrimp farmers in Dam Doi use biofloc technology, helping keep diseases under control in the area.

The province has established several shrimp farming areas that meet high quality standards including organic, VietGAP and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). 

Ca Mau promotes its shrimp products within the country and abroad.

It has created link-ups between stakeholders in shrimp production including farmers and processing companies to improve the former’s incomes and the quality of shrimp products.

The Cai Bat Aquaculture Cooperative in Cai Nuoc district’s Hoa My commune has, for instance, participated in a project to create an equitable and sustainable shrimp production chain in 2016.

The project taught the co-operative’s members farming techniques and elicited support from participating companies.

The companies sell inputs to the members and buy their entire output.

Nguyen Van Lam, director of the cooperative, said: “Through the project, cooperation between the cooperative and companies in both buying and selling outputs has been implemented effectively.”

Members could buy shrimp fry, food and drugs at lower prices than in the market, while the company bought their shrimp at 2,000-5,000 VND a kilogramme higher than market rates, he said

Last month the province established the Vietnam Sustainable Shrimp Alliance, with its members including shrimp processing companies, cooperatives representing shrimp farming households and foreign buyers.

The alliance is expected to help create a standard closed shrimp production chain.-VNS/VNA