Harvesting white-legged shrimp in Kien Giang province’s An Minh district. (Photo: VNA)

Kien Giang (VNS/VNA)
– The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang has expanded its most efficient rice and aquatic species farming models in the last two years.

Mai Anh Nhin, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, said many farmers have switched from growing rice, in case of low yields, to breeding aquatic species.

They have also expanded the model of rotating between rice in the rainy season and shrimp in the dry season on the same fields to enhance their incomes, he said.

The model is particularly suitable for coastal areas since it helps adapt to climate change and rising sea levels.

The province has 92,000ha of rice – shrimp fields, the highest in the delta.

Farmers adopting the model harvest around four tonnes of paddy and 250 kilogrammes of black tiger shrimp per hectare per year.

The province has adopted several efficient shrimp farming models like extensive, intensive, semi-intensive, and two-stage industrial models.

The model of breeding white-legged shrimp in two stages to Vietnamese good agricultural practice (VietGAP) standards adopted in An Minh district for the last two years provides farmers with high incomes and protects the environment.

Juvenile shrimp are first bred in a small pond for a few weeks before being transferred to the main pond at a rate of up to 450 per square metre.

Le Van Khanh, head of An Minh district’s Division of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the success rate of the two-stage shrimp farming model is more than 90 percent and farmers can breed two or three crops a year.

Farmers can earn 150-200 million VND (6,450-8,600 USD) per 500-1,200sq.m pond per crop, he said.

The province, the country’s largest rice producer, has increased the number of rice crops in a year from two to three in areas like Tan Hiep, Giong Rieng and Hon Dat districts where there are flood-prevention embankments.

In the coastal areas of U Minh Thuong and the Long Xuyen Quadrangle, farmers have developed the rice – shrimp model to earn high incomes.

In Giang Thanh, Hoa Dat, Vinh Thuan and Giong Rieng districts, where farmers grew only rice in the past, they now grow one rice and one other crop annually.

After growing the winter – spring rice crop, they grow vegetables, water melon or honeydew melon.  

Pham Hung Em, who grows one rice crop and one vegetable crop in Vinh Thuan’s Vinh Binh Bac commune, said the income from vegetables is more than 200 million VND per hectare per year. 

The province has researched to develop high-quality rice strains and aquatic breeds.

It has created rice varieties like GKG1 and GKG9 that have a short maturity period, are resistant to disease and saltwater, and have high yield and quality.

Farmers in the province grow more high-quality rice varieties, with the rate increasing from 71 percent in 2016 to 75 percent last year.

Last year, the province had 75,000ha of large-scale rice fields which involved more than 20 companies and farmers having tie-ups to ensure each other production and outlets.

The large-scale rice fields apply the “1 must and 5 reductions” method, which requires farmers to use certified seeds and reduce seeding, plant protection chemicals, nitrogen fertilisers, irrigation, and post-harvest losses. Participating farmers can earn profits of 40 percent. 

The province has invested in irrigation systems, including building more sluices to keep out saltwater, to benefit rice and shrimp farming.

It dredged thousands of kilometres of irrigation canals and ditches, upgraded irrigation works in rice farming areas and established more than 1,250 pumping stations in the past two years.-VNS/VNA