Localities in the Mekong Delta region are assisting their farmers in buying more farming and rice harvesting machinery to help them save both time and labour while increasing rice productivity.

According to agricultural experts, the whole region needs about 20,000 harvester-threshers to collect rice on 1.5 million hectares each crop, a far cry from the current number of 8,700, which now covers the work on a half of total rice farming acreage.

In the meantime, farmers in the region are encountering a shortage of labourers although they have to pay a hired hand up to 3 – 3.5 million VND for each hectare of rice.

In the short term, the use of small-sized machines like mowers and rice plucking machines should be encouraged as they can easily operate in remote areas and inundated rice fields.

For a longer run, the State should have a policy on capital assistance to support local farmers in purchase of farming machinery.

Agricultural experts suggested localities calling for private enterprises to invest in harvesting machines to help ease financial burden for rice growers.-VNA