The cultivation of fragrant rice in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang has shown good results, according to experts.

Soc Trang, the main fragrant rice growing province in the delta, has around 148,000ha under rice, with 44 percent of it earmarked for speciality varieties, mostly of the fragrant kind.

In 1992-2015, Soc Trang spent more than 9 billion VND (430,000 USD) on 20 programmes for creating and restoring speciality rice varieties.

One of them, to create the ST fragrant rice strain, has ended with many varieties ranging from ST 1 to ST 25. Many of them are exported at high prices.

ST 5, for instance, has fetched over 600 USD a tonne for the past seven years.

Speaking at a seminar held in the province in mid-May, Ho Quang Cua, deputy chairman of the Soc Trang Union of Science and Technology Associations and also one of the local scientists who researched and created the ST varieties, said many farmers growing fragrant rice made profits of 50 -70 percent.

Cua and his research group are planning to popularise ST varieties from 20 to 25, red ST, and purple ST so that more of them are grown for export. The export prices of these are as high as 800 USD a tonne.

Many cooperatives in the province have tied up with companies to ensure there are outlets for their fragrant rice.

Vo Tong Xuan, rector of the Can Tho University, hailing Soc Trang's scientists for creating the ST variety, said the province should look for investment in rice drying, husking, polishing, and packaging facilities.

Seminar participants said the profits from speciality rice strains are very high, adding if the grain is grown using a proper model like the large-scale rice fields and there is cooperation between farmers, scientists, companies, and authorities, farmers could enjoy up to 84 percent of the profit made through the chain until the rice reaches the consumer.

Le Thanh Tri, Vice Chairman of the Soc Trang People's Committee, said to further develop speciality rice farming, the province needs to dissuade individual and small farming and strengthen cooperation between farmers, scientists, companies, and the Government.

The province should provide farmers with advanced technologies and create more high-quality rice strains suitable for harsh weather conditions, he added.-VNA