The cooperation between farmers and businesses in rice cultivation in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap has proved effective as it has guaranteed the consumption of farmers’ rice products.

This year, 18 companies took part in this model, helping partner farmers cultivate three rice crops on over 86,000ha, or 16 percent of the province’s total rice farming area.

They assisted farmers in buying seeds, fertiliser and pesticide and planting techniques and purchased all their harvests at prices that were 100-300 VND/kg higher than market prices, thus helping raise farmers’ profits by 2-3 million VND per crop compared to those not under this connectivity.

Under this model, the An Giang Plant Protection Joint Stock Company contracted with farmers to send technicians to help them with cultivation skills, provide 100 percent of pesticide and 50 percent of fertiliser, and gave them an advance on purchasing money.

Meanwhile, the Vo Thi Thu Ha Co. Ltd partnered with nine cooperatives and cooperative groups, supplying farmers with seeds of varieties eligible for export such as Jasmines, OM 6976 and OM 4218 and purchasing all 57,000 tonnes of rice harvested on 9,666 ha.

Nguyen Minh Tien, head of the Agriculture and Rural Development Office of Dong Thap’s Cao Lanh district, said more than 4,000 ha of rice fields in his locality were grown under such cooperation in 2014, helping locals earn an additional 2 million VND per hectare compared to the traditional method. This area will be expanded to 5,000 ha next year.

Dong Thap targets more than 83,000 ha of rice fields to be grown under the farmer-and-business connectivity in 2015, said the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, adding that many companies have signed Memoranda of Understanding to join in this cooperation model.

The Mekong Delta is the largest rice production hub of Vietnam. During the first ten months of this year, it exported over 2.7 million tonnes of high quality rice, increasing by 44 percent from a year earlier and generating 2.32 billion USD. The volume of shipped high quality rice accounted for 52 percent of the region’s rice exports.

This year, total rice output in the region is expected to be 25.5 million tonnes, up by 500,000 tonnes against 2013 and accounting for 56 percent of the country's total output, according to the Southwest Region Steering Committee.-VNA