Tra Vinh eyes makeover of agriculture with advanced techniques, restructure hinh anh 1Thạch Thị Sanh in Tra Vinh province’s Cau Ngang district has switched from growing peanut to growing red chilli on her 4,000sq.m field this year and earned high profits. (Photo: VNA)

Tra Vinh (VNS/VNA)
- The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh has stepped up support for farmers adopting advanced techniques to improve product value and income.

Pham Minh Truyen, director of its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said advanced farming techniques are used on more than 17,400ha of rice, vegetables, fruits, and aquaculture.

The techniques include using automatic irrigation facilities, nano fertilisers, net houses, and hydroponic methods for crops and using modern facilities for intensive shrimp farming.

However, the area and output of high-quality products remain small and linkages between farmers and companies are not strong.

To improve the value of agricultural products, the province will spend 368 billion VND (15.9 million USD) to help farmers, co-operatives and co-operative groups apply advanced techniques in the 2021- 25 period.

They will be offered financial assistance to buy equipment and machinery required to grow products to good agricultural practices (GAP) standards, build brands, carry out promotions, and link up with companies to secure outlets.

The province will help farmers with around 10,000ha change their crops and livestock by 2025.

It plans to help them switch to high-value crops and more lucrative livestock or aquatic species on 1,550ha of low-yield rice fields this year.

It will invest more than 3.42 trillion VND (148.2 million USD) in aquaculture infrastructure to help adapt to climate change, saltwater intrusion and lack of water.

It is calling on companies to invest in agriculture to improve produce value.

It is seeking investment in a number of agricultural projects that use advanced techniques such as breeding of brackish water shrimp, organic shrimp for export under the shrimp – forest farming and shrimp – rice farming models.

It is also calling on companies to invest in processing fruits, coconut and peanut, and will offer them incentives related to land rents and land clearance compensation and financial support to build infrastructure and train their workers.

It targets agricultural production worth 30 trillion VND (1.3 billion USD) in 2025 to account for 21 percent of its economic output.

In the last five years it has restructured agriculture on nearly 19,800ha and rolled out various efficient farming models that use advanced techniques.

Models for farming white – legged shrimp, giant river prawn, vegetables, fruits, and coconut promise to provide farmers with annual incomes of 100 – 500 million VND (4,300 – 21,600 USD) per hectare, according to the department.

Restructuring cultivation

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has strengthened advocacy activities to encourage farmers to reduce the cultivation of a third rice crop and switch to other suitable crops to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

This has persuaded thousands of farmers to switch to growing crops like corn, pumpkin, water melon, cucumber, and vegetables in unproductive rice fields in elevated areas and those lacking irrigation, and in sugarcane fields.

Tra Vinh is one of the delta’s largest sugarcane producing provinces, but farmers here have been suffering in recent years due to low prices.

Huynh Van Thao, head of the Tra Cu District Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, said nearly 2,000 sugarcane farmers in the district have switched to other crops on more than 1,000ha of sugarcane fields.

“[This] offers farmers an income of 50 – 80 million VND (2,200 – 3,500 USD) per hectare per crop.”

Tra Cu district used to have more than 5,000ha under sugarcane previously, but has reduced gradually to 1,431ha now, according to its Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development.

This year the province is offering support to thousands of sugarcane farmers in Tra Cu to switch to other crops, livestock farming and aquaculture.

Those who switch to vegetables, mushrooms, fruits, coconut, rice, pig, cow, goat, duck, black tiger shrimp, white – legged shrimp, river giant prawn, tra fish, and snakehead fish based on GAP standards are provided 6 – 10 million VND (260 – 430 USD) per hectare.

Truyen said the support policy also encourages farmers to embrace advanced farming techniques and VietGAP standards, which enables their produce to have high value and be sold easily, he added./.