Mekong Delta enjoys good start to rice harvest hinh anh 1Harvesting the winter – spring rice crop in Kien Giang Province’s Chau Thanh district. (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNS/VNA) - Farmers in the Mekong Delta have begun harvesting the winter–spring rice crop in areas where it was sowed early, and yields are high.

Nguyen Van Phuc of Dong Thap province’s Thap Muoi district said he planted IR 50404 rice this time and got a yield of seven tonnes per hectare, higher than last year.

Besides, costs were lower than previous years because rice fields had plenty of sediments deposited meaning farmers could use less fertilisers, he said.

Authorities had released floodwaters rich with sediments from the rising Mekong River into nearly half of the province’s rice farming areas between August and October last year. Besides depositing the sediments, this also helped destroy disease-causing pests.

More than 197,000ha were planted in the province, 60 percent of them with high-quality rice varieties, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Farmers have harvested more than 50,000ha so far with an average yield of 6.5 tonnes per hectare.

Nugyen Van Cong, director of the department, said the province is focusing on the quality of its agricultural produce this year.

In Can Tho, more than 1,120ha out of the 81,264ha of winter – spring rice crop have been harvested with an average yield of seven tonnes, according to the city Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Rice companies guarantee purchase of more than 15,000ha of rice, down 5,000ha from a year ago.

The price of paddy around the delta has fallen since last year.  

Farmers are having difficulty selling their harvest since rice companies face a cash crunch.

The Can Tho City People’s Committee held a meeting with rice companies and banks to find a way to buy paddy from farmers this week.

Truong Quang Hoai Nam, deputy director of the city People’s Committee, instructed relevant agencies to help rice companies obtain loans for buying rice from farmers.

The city would ask the Government to instruct banks to increase credit to rice companies, he said.

It expects about 570,000 tonnes of paddy to be harvested, with the harvest peaking by the end of this month.

In the winter-spring crop the delta plants rice in around 1.6 million hectares and expects to harvest 11 million tonnes of paddy.           

In Kien Giang province, the delta’s largest rice producer, authorities have warned rice farmers about the threat of brown plant hoppers to this crop.

Around 26,700ha have been affected by rice pests, mostly brown plant hoppers, according to the province’s Plant Cultivation and Protection Sub-department

Do Minh Nhut, deputy director of the Kiên Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the department has instructed relevant agencies to help prevent rice pests and instruct farmers to regularly inspect their fields to prevent disease outbreaks.   

It planted 289,112ha of rice in the winter-spring crop, marginally higher than its target.

Farmers have harvested more than 22,500ha so far. — VNS/VNA