Vietnam’s northwest is one of the country’s key corn cultivation areas with nearly 300,000ha used for the crop, accounting for 25 percent of the country’s total corn growing areas, the Vietnam Economic News reported on May 29.

However, the regional corn yields only reached 3.2 tonnes per ha, much lower than the country’s average yield. Therefore, increasing yields and production for the northwestern provinces drew great attention from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The biggest difficulty is that corn cultivation in mountainous provinces are located mainly in steep, hilly and mountainous areas and therefore the soil is often washed away during the rainy season, leaving the soil exhausted and having a negative impact on the environment.

In addition, local cultivation methods remain limited as they lack input agricultural materials like fertilizer and irrigation water. Nomadic people living in shifting cultivation mainly in forests also reduced forested areas and made their livelihoods unstable, resulting in low corn yields and production.

In an agriculture promotion forum on sustainable corn production in northwestern region recently coorganised by the National Agriculture Promotion Centre and Lai Chau province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, a programme linking the state, scientists, farmers and enterprises to develop corn production in the region was recommended as one of the prerequisite conditions for sustainable corn cultivation and a premise to build a key corn growing region so that Vietnam can take more initiatives in its supply for animal feed.

According to Director of the National Agriculture Promotion Centre (the MARD), the sustainable development of corn cultivation requires collaboration among the four previously mentioned stakeholders as well as sound investment.

In recent years, the Syngenta Vietnam Company has coordinated with the National Agriculture Promotion Centre, departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Agriculture and promotion centres in the northwestern mountainous provinces to transfer technologies and raise farmer awareness of sustainable corn production. Syngenta raised technical solutions to change the farming habits and awareness and also implemented overall, scientific solutions to gradually increase corn yields sustainably year after year.

Director of Foreign Affairs of Syngenta Vietnam Company Le Thi Khanh Hoa said with annual investment of more than 1.5 billion USD for research and development to support its networks globally, now Syngenta is the only company that has a comprehensive collection of products on main crops such as corn, rice, coffee and pepper.

As for corn, Syngenta brings growers an abundant collection of hybrid corn varieties including NK54, NK66, NK6326, NK67, NK7328 and NK4300 which have advantages such as drought and cold tolerant, promising high yield from 10-12 tonnes per ha, allowing farmers to use corn varieties suitable for each specific crop and helping them improve the crop yields, increase incomes and improve their lives in a sustainable way.

To develop sustainable corn production, northwestern provinces need to set up a concentrated corn cultivation region, apply scientific advancements in varieties, cultivation skills and technological process. They especially need to adopt more open policies to lure investment in processing facilities attached with consumption of the products.-VNA