Cuban Deputy Minister of Agriculture Ydael Perez Brito speaks at the launching ceremony of the fifth phase of the cooperation project on developing rice production (Photo: VNA)

Havana (VNA) – The fifth phase of the Vietnam-Cuba cooperation project on developing rice production kicked off in Havana on May 29.

Launched in 1999, the project has helped improve Cuba’s research capacity, transfer Vietnam’s technical advances in rice production to the country, apply the advances in non-specialised rice farming areas, build rice seed production and supply models, and develop production models applying technical advances in specialised farming zones.

It has become one of the symbols of Vietnam-Cuba cooperation in the new period.

By the end of the fourth phase in December 2015, the project had been carried out in 12 out of 15 provinces and cities of Cuba. It had developed 54,000ha of rice production models, up 163 percent from the initial plan, with an average productivity of 4.36 tonnes per ha, compared to 2.5 tonnes per ha before the project implementation.

The fifth phase of the project will continue in the 12 provinces and cities, and is scheduled to last until 2023. It is set to cultivate 200,000ha of rice with an average productivity of 6 tonnes per ha. It looks to satisfy 86 percent of the rice demand in Cuba.

At the launching ceremony, Cuban Deputy Minister of Agriculture Ydael Perez Brito reviewed the local rice production development which has recorded a turning point in productivity since the cooperation project with Vietnam was implemented.

He appreciated Vietnam’s assistance, which is not only in terms of machinery and seeds but also techniques transferred by enthusiastic experts.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Cuba Nguyen Trung Thanh affirmed that the project is a continuation of the two nations’ special solidarity, and it demonstrates the enormous potential of bilateral cooperation.–VNA