The value of agricultural production has risen because of advanced farming techniques, according to the city's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The city's land for farming fell to 55,000ha in 2012 and to 51,300ha in 2013. Also, agricultural revenue increased to 239 million VND (11,300 USD) per ha in 2012 and to 282 million USD (13,300 USD) last year.
Le Thanh Liem, the department director, said revenue had risen an average of 19 per cent a year in the 2009-13 period.

Farmers also decided to switch to high-value crops like flowers and ornamental plants.

In addition, the city's 88-ha Agricultural Hi-Tech Park in Cu Chi District conducted research on new imported plants, developed agricultural production models, and transferred farming techniques to farmers over the past years.

Last year the park succeeded in planting many new imported plants, including 19 kinds of pear from the US , Japan and China and 15 kinds of melon from Japan .

Pham Dinh Dung, director of the Research and Development Centre for Agriculture High-Technology under the city's Agricultural Hi-Tech Park, said the centre recently transferred more than 2 million orchid seedlings and 201,000 red chili seedlings to farmers.

The centre has been transferring farming techniques and clean seedlings of several plants, including orchids, cucumber, leaf vegetables and fruits, to households and farms in outlying districts.

New farming methods had helped farmers receive a yield two times higher than traditional farming methods, he said.

The centre has also worked with enterprises to guarantee outlets for farmers, he said.

Nguyen Van Nga, who owns 3,500sq.m of farmland in Cu Chi District's Tan Thong Hoi Commune, said after he was offered a training course to grow orchids, he had used 3,000 sq.m of his farmland to grow the flower for three years.

Previously, Nga planted rice and cash crops and had a low income.

Nga said he now earned an income of 20-25 million VND a month.

"My family life has improved," he said.

Like Nga, many farmers in Tan Thong Hoi have also escaped poverty by using new agricultural production models.-VNA