Rice harvest in Long An province (Photo: baolongan.vn)

Long An (VNS/VNA) – The Mekong Delta province of Long An hopes to ensure 20,000ha of paddies are farmed using advanced techniques by the end of this year.

Nguyen Chi Thien, Deputy Director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said these lands would be in Vinh Hung, Tan Hung, Thanh Hoa, Moc Hoa, and Tan Thanh districts and Kien Tuong town.

These localities now have 62 different models that use advanced techniques on an area of 13,400ha.

Farmers adopting these models use certified high-quality rice seeds and machinery in all stages, organic fertilisers, and biocides, and grow flowers around rice fields to attract insects that are natural enemies of brown plant hoppers. Rice produced under these models has guaranteed outlets.

They have reduced production costs by 2 – 2.5 million VND (86 – 107 USD) per hectare and increased yields by 300 – 500 VND kilogrammes, according to the department.

Participating farmers earn 4 – 6 million VND (171 – 258 USD) per hectare more than from normal farming methods, it said.  

Nguyen Thi Dieu Nga, Director of the Vinh Thuan Agriculture Cooperative in Vinh Hung district, said her cooperative was selected to implement an advanced rice farming model on 50ha in 2016.

It received assistance with building a warehouse and rice-drying facility and buying machinery like laser-operated land levellers, ploughing machines and combined harvesters, she said.

For this summer – autumn crop, it is growing 50ha to Vietnamese good agricultural practice (VietGAP) standards.

It signed contracts with a company for selling its paddy at 500 – 1,000 VND a kilogramme higher than market prices.

In Kien Tuong town, the application of advanced farming techniques on nearly 3,400ha has increased rice yields and farmers’ incomes.

Ha Van Nua, who has a 2.5ha rice field in Tuyen Thanh commune, said he followed all the instructions carefully, including using low seedling transplant density.  

“[The low density] offers many benefits and is more effective than high density transplantation.”

Vo Thanh Tong, deputy head of the town’s Economic Division, said advanced techniques were used under three rice farming models on a total of 149ha in the summer – autumn crop.

It involved 56 households, and most of them used certified rice seeds and techniques like ‘one must and six reductions’, he said.  

Under this method, farmers use certified seeds and reduce seeding, plant protection chemicals, nitrogen fertilisers, irrigation, greenhouse gas emissions, and post-harvest losses.

Thien said to increase the area under advanced farming techniques, the department would strengthen advocacy to raise awareness among farmers, co-operative teams, co-operatives, and rice companies about their benefits.

It would continue to provide training to farmers in advanced techniques and encourage them to grow rice to VietGAP and GlobalGAP standards, he said.

The province would promote trading and urge more rice companies to sign contracts with farmers, he added.-VNS/VNA