Large-scale rice production has helped raise farmers' incomes by lowering production costs and increasing yields as well as quality, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has reported.

A MARD report, presented at a seminar held in Can Tho City on April 25, said that large-scale rice fields covered 100,000 ha in the Mekong Delta for the 2013 - 2014 winter - spring crop.

Farmers are earning 2.2-7.5 million VND (105-350 USD) profit per ha compared with those earned by other farmers not taking part in the large-scale production programme, the report said.

In addition to rice, the large-scale production fields have also created higher profits for other crops.

For example, Tran Thanh Tuan, a farmer from Chau Binh commune in Ben Tre province's Giong Trom district, said that owners of coconut farms in the region had to sell their products at lower prices because traders had forced coconut prices down to earn more profits.

In 2013, the situation improved when the Mekong Coconut Co. signed contracts with Chau Binh farmers to create a large-scale coconut cultivation model in the commune.

Under the contracts, Mekong Coconut provided farmers with capital, fertilisers and production technology, and at the same time purchased coconuts at prices 500 VND higher per coconut.

These contracts have helped Chau Binh farmers increase their profits from coconut cultivation.

The representatives of Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Mekong Delta said the large-scale cultivation model should be applied to other crops such as fruits, vegetable and aquaculture in the delta.

However, businesses are still reluctant to invest in the large-scale production model.

The report said that small-scale fields in the delta had also hindered the new production model, with each family in the region cultivating only 0.6 ha of land.

It recommended that families work with others to form larger areas for specific cultivation.

In addition, MARD suggested that farmers join cooperatives, which would make it easier for them to sign contracts with companies on large-scale production.

Authorities, scientists and banks were also asked to help farmers replicate the production model for the cultivation of other produce.-VNA