A maize farm in Van Chan District, Yen Bai Province (Photo: VNA)
Yen Bai (VNA)  - The northern mountainous province of Yen Bai is taking steps to diversify crops under its plan on agricultural restructuring, encouraging local farmers to adopt high-yield food crop varieties and high-value industrial plants new to the locality. 

Besides hybrid rice and maize, farmers began to cultivate wheat, soya bean, potato or rubber trees for the first time, while expanding the area under local specialties such as tea, cinnamon and hawthorn trees. 

Several projects to develop the cultivation of hawthorn, cinnamon, ​maize and citrus trees have surpassed the targets set for 2016. The area of hawthorn reached 1,080ha, nearly double the target of 550ha, and that of cinnamon was expanded to 4,759ha while the goal was 2,642ha. 

Mu Cang Chai District has led the way in restructuring the local crops. Due to a severe climate which is cold and dry in winter, local farmers used to leave more than 4,000 ha of wet rice uncultivated in winter. But in the 2015-2016 winter-spring crop, the district authorities experimented with new cold-and drought-resistant plants, cultivating 12ha of wheat, 700sq.m of potato and 2ha of rapeseed (Brassica napus). The good harvest of the new plants prompted the district to plant 20ha of wheat, 15ha of potato and 500ha of rapeseed in the 2016-2017 winter-spring season.

According to Luong Van Thu, deputy head of the district’s division for agriculture and rural development, the district has coordinated with enterprises in supplying farmers with seeds and fertilizers and in buying all harvested produce. 

Thu said wheat, potato and rapeseed produce the same or much higher economic value than wet rice, which is the reason why the district decided to expand the farming of those plants. 

In this winter-spring crop, Pung Luong Commune has the largest area cultivated with wheat, with 8ha. Ho Thi Sung in De Cho Chua B hamlet said her family grew wheat in dry fields, and after harvesting wheat, it is the right time to start the spring-summer wet rice crop. 

Along with introducing high-value plants, Mu Cang Chai has stepped up the application of scientific and technological advances in farming by building demonstration models for new farming techniques. 

As a result, several large-scale farming areas of certain crops including maize, tea, cinnamon and hawthorn have formed in Yen Bai, a step forward in the province’s orientation of developing sustainable agriculture based on local farm produce with competitive edge.-VNA