Mekong delta makes efforts to have 9.3 million tons of rice

Farmers in the Mekong delta have started to sow summer-fall crop with joy because price of rice rose; however, the crop might be good as expected when drought, salinity intrusion and diseases plague will badly affect the crop.

Farmers in Dong Thap are taking care of the summer-fall crop (Photo: SGGP)
Farmers in Dong Thap are taking care of the summer-fall crop (Photo: SGGP)

In a paddy field in Tan Hong district in Dong Thap Province, farmers are pumping water into reservoir for the crop.

Farmer Doan Ngoc Anh in Tan Thanh A Commune in Tan Hong District said farmers in the district are joyful because they yield huge profit this year with average productivity of 7-8 tons per hectare. A kilogram of rice fetches VND6,200.

As rice is sold at high price, his family begins the next crop soon.

Most farmers thought if they start new crop early, they will harvest early and have money soon; subsequently, they begin the summer-fall crop as quickly as possible.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Dong Thap said farmers in the province grow summer-fall crop on 190,000 hectare of rice paddies with expected productivity of 6.1 ton a hectare.

Meantime, in Hau Giang their peers are quick to grow the crop. Farmer Nguyen Van La in Vi Thuy Commune in Hau Giang said he earned VND50 million after selling rice at the cost of VND5,500 per kilogram at the field.

The local agriculture sector warned farmers the time between two crops is three weeks as minimum to kill diseases. Farmers neglected the warning because of present high price.

Hau Giang Department of Crop Production and Plant Protection said farmers grow the new crop on 76,800 hectare of rice paddy fields from March to May and will harvest in June to August. For those areas at the risk of salinity intrusion farmers will start in rain season to alleviate losses.

Farmers in Cau Ke and Tieu Can districts in Tra Vinh started the new crop right after harvesting the winter-spring crop meanwhile according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the new crop in 77,000 hectare will be in April and May. In reality, farmers started already.

Another positive sign for the agriculture is that rice export is very good. Statistically, in two first months of the year, enterprises sold around 880,000 tons of rice earning revenue of nearly $430 million, a rise of 17 percent in volume and 34 percent in value compared to same period last year.

Good export plus high price in the country are obviously incentive for growing new crop.

Diseases in rice is the present problem. The Department of Plant Protection under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development warned bugs and rice weevils and light stunting and yellowing or light yellow leaves will cause harm for the summer-fall crop this year.

It is forecast that from March to June bugs of passenger will appear in the region. Consequently, local administrations, farmers and cooperatives must keep an eye on climate change and diseases to limit the loss at the minimum.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) predicted in 2018, the Mekong delta provinces will make 9.3 million tons of rice on over 1.65 million hectare, a year-on-year increase of 274,000 tons. It advised local administrators to sow in suitable time to avoid salinity intrusion and diseases.

Le Thanh Tung from the Department of Plant Protection varieties such as OM5451, OM6976, OM4900, OM7347, and OM4218 will be planted in the summer-fall crop; farmers in areas vulnerable to saline water should use short-time variety.

MARD also proposed localities to enhance sowing good quality seeds for export demand. Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Dong Thap Nguyen Van Cong said that the department is encouraging farmers to cooperate with their peers to form giant paddy field and associate with an enterprise in consumption of agricultural products.

Over 60 percent certified rice varieties will be used in the summer –fall crop; additionally, enhancement of machines in paddy field will be with the aim to cut cost in the Mekong delta.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Can Tho City advised farmers to use certified rice varieties as well as deploy techniques to cut cost with the orientation of safe and environmentally- friendly production. Can Tho also planned to grow special, high quality rice in giant paddy field for export demand.