The Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap has applied a new rice production model called “joint fields”, helping better production, supply and consumption for both farmers and enterprises.

The province wants to tighten cooperation between farmers and enterprises, not just increase production scale, radio The Voice of Vietnam reported, explaining that the farmers joining the programme know what type of plants they should grow, who will buy their output, and the prices, while the enterprises no longer have to worry about supply or purchasing method.

Dong Thap province implemented the programme “Rice production with advanced method” from 2008 to 2011 to rally farmers to centralised rice production. The programme’s goal was to reduce production costs and improve quality for domestic consumption and export.

The province rezoned rice fields and connected farmers and enterprises. After three years, the programme had increased the number of participants, and had improved production techniques, productivity, and quality. Dong Thap has expanded joint field acreage from 2,400 ha in 2011 to 17,000 ha in 2012, and presently to 54,000 ha.

Members of Tan Tien cooperative in Tam Nong district say they prefer the joint field model and advanced rice cultivation method.

"In previous crops, I misused pesticides, but I did it right this year. Compared with last year, I earned an additional 100 USD per hectare and reduced the number of pesticide sprayings," said farmer Pham Van Su.

Agriculturists have taught farmers better production and field management techniques including pesticide application, taking daily notes, and keeping business accounts.

Professor Vo Tong Xuan said he appreciated the programme’s practicality, saying that the cooperative is an effective model of cooperation. Farmers can buy high-quality materials such as fertilisers and pesticides and will apply tested procedures in production and sell their harvests to associated enterprises.

One criterion of the national programme of building new rural areas is that each commune has at least one large-scale commercial production model. It’s necessary to build vast rice fields and increase cooperation between the farmers and traders.

Dang Kim Son, Director of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, said the vast rice field model focuses on production scale while the joint rice field model boosts cooperation between producers and distributors.

According to Son, the joint rice field model focuses on cooperation and the organisation of production. The farmers cooperate with one other, and farmers and enterprises cooperate in input materials, consumption, and product chains.-VNA