The Mekong Delta’s rice output has increased six times during the 1976-2014 period, according to the Mekong Delta Rice Research Institute.

According to Le Van Banh, Head of the Institute, the whole region produced 25 million tonnes of unhusked rice in 2014 while the figure recorded in 1976, when the institute was established, was just 4.2 million tonnes.

The average per-ha crop yield also increased from 3 tonnes to 8 tonnes and farmers can now have three crops a year instead of the previous one, Banh said.

The institute has been instrumental in those massive changes, he said, citing its contribution of most varieties, eight out of 10, commonly grown by farmers over 70 percent of the rice cultivation area in the region.

The institute’s rice varieties, numbering 166 so far, bear a lot of superior attributes such as disease-resistance, high yield, and good rice quality.

Many of which have been growing well in other countries such as Cambodia, Laos, Brunei, South Asian and African countries.

The Mekong Delta accounts for 90 percent of the country’s export rice.-VNA