Dong Thap expands high quality rice cultivation hinh anh 1Harvesting rice in Dong Thap (Photo: VNA)

Dong Thap (VNS/VNA)
- More rice farmers in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap have switched to growing high-quality rice varieties, which sell well and offer high profits.

More than 60 percent of rice planted in Dong Thap are high-quality rice varieties, up 4.2 percent against two years ago, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

These rice varieties include Jasmine 85, Nang Hoa 9, OM 4900, OM 6976, Dai Thom 8 and DTM 126.

The province, which is one of the delta’s largest rice producers, grows more than 520,000ha of rice a year with an annual output of 3.3 million tonnes.

Nguyen Van Phuc, who owns a 2ha rice field in Thap Muoi District’s Phu Dien Commune, said he switched from growing low-quality IR 50404 rice to the high quality Dai Thom 8 rice in the 2019 - 2020 winter – spring rice crop. 

He harvested a yield of 8 tonnes of paddy per hectare in the 2019 - 2020 winter – spring rice crop, up 1 tonnes against the 2018 - 2019 winter – spring rice crop. He sold Dai Thom 8 rice for 1,000 VND higher than normal rice varieties.

Farmers and co-operatives that grow high-quality rice varieties have signed farm contracts with rice companies to guarantee outlets and stable prices.

The Thuan Tien Agriculture Services Cooperative in Cao Lanh District’s Gao Giong Commune has signed farm contracts with companies to produce high-quality rice.

According to Nguyen Thanh Hung, chairman of the Thuan Tien, the cooperative’s high-quality rice is guaranteed an outlet with a price of 150 – 200 VND a kilogramme higher than the market price.

The cooperative members earn a profit that is 15 – 20 percent higher than before and have stable outlets.

About 46 percent of the province’s rice growing areas have been guaranteed outlets by rice companies.

To supply high-quality rice varieties for farmers, the province has conducted research and planted several new high-quality rice varieties suited to its soil and weather conditions.

Le Ngoc Hoa of the Dong Thap High-Tech Agriculture Application Centre said the province had planted on a pilot basis two new varieties – RD71 and AD61 – in Hong Ngu and Tan Hong districts.

The two rice varieties are high quality, have a short maturity period, and yield 6 -7 tonnes per hectare.

Hong Ngu and Tan Hong districts are also expanding the cultivation of other high-quality rice varieties like OM 221 and OM 124 as they have a high yield of seven tonnes per hectare.

In the ongoing 2020 -21 winter – spring rice crop, the province targets growing about 200,000ha, focusing on high-quality varieties that meet market demand and are resistant to disease, according to the province’s Plant Cultivation and Protection Sub-department. 

Nguyen Van Muoi, director of the Tan Thuan Agriculture Services Cooperative in Chau Thanh District’s An Phu Thuan Commune, said: “For the 2020 - 2021 winter-spring rice crop, the co-operative decided to grow rice varieties that have high quality and high yield to increase profit for its members.”

Dong Thap authorities in recent years have encouraged farmers to turn ineffective rice fields to other high-value crops like fruit and aquaculture.

The average profit of fruits is about 370 million VND (16,000 USD) per hectare a year, 3 - 8 times higher than profits from rice cultivation, according to farmers.

Tran Van Nam in Thap Muoi District’s Thanh My Commune has switched from rice to growing lime on his 1.3ha rice field. He now earns a profit of 400 million VND (17,300 USD) per hectare a year.

More rice farmers have also rotated the cultivation of rice in the rainy season and other short - term crops like sesame in the dry season to save irrigation water and prevent the spread of rice diseases.

Rice farmers in the province have converted more than 16,240 ha of rice fields to high-value crops like fruit, vegetables, flower and ornamental plants and aquaculture, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development./.