The Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap plans to level 100 of land using laser technology to create large-scale paddy fields of thousands of hectares.

The project, which will be carried out until the end of 2015 or early 2016, is an effort of the provincial People's Committee with funds from Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the Republic of Korea.

The provincial government expects the project will help farmers become more economically efficient and thus reduce their cultivation expenses.

The cleared land will be divided between several paddy fields of 1,000ha each. They will be managed by households in the province's northern districts of Tam Nong, Tan Hong, Thanh Binh, Thap Muoi, and others. The area involves 9,000 households in the districts.

According to the local agricultural sector, the province has a total of 225,220ha of land for paddy cultivation.

Of the province's total 156,679 households, more than 70 percent cultivate paddy on less than one hectare of land, and more than 12 percent own one to two hectares of paddy farmland.

Nguyen Van Duong, Chairman of the provincial People's Committee, was quoted by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper as saying that the large fields create favourable conditions for mechanisation in paddy cultivation.

Upon realising the project, expenses for fertiliser, labour and water will be saved, he said, adding that productivity and rice quality will be improved.

Nguyen Van Cong, Director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that when farmers agree to combine their land for large-scale production, rice quality will be improved and enterprises will sign contracts to purchase rice.

With traditional production methods, farmers were forced to sell their paddy to traders at unfair prices, he added.

Currently, there are several cooperatives cultivating paddy on large-scale fields such as Tan Cuong, Tan Tien and others.

For Pham Van Tuan Hai, a farmer who combined his fields for a large-scale farm at Tan Cuong Cooperative, the model has saved him at least 1 million VND (50 USD) per hectare, while paddy productivity and rice quality has improved.-VNA