Vietnam has enjoyed a place among the world’s top rice exporters for many years, but local rice growers’ income has remained at low levels.
The recent implementation of a pilot model of large-scale rice field in the Mekong River Delta is thought to provide an answer to this long-standing problem.
According to agricultural experts, small plots and scattered production hinder the application of machinery and technology to increase productivity and quality of Vietnam’s rice, keeping the price low.
Therefore, the large-scale field model – which gathered land and featured production cooperation between hundreds of farmer households and businesses – has drawn the participation of more than 6,400 households farming a total area of 8,200 ha when it was launched in the Mekong River Delta during the past winter-spring and summer-autumn crops.
The advantage of this model is that businesses help farmer households to sell products and provide them with rice seeds, fertiliser, irrigation service, advanced technologies and modern farming techniques, reducing production costs and increasing productivity and product quality. In return, businesses benefit from long-term supplies with ensured origin and quality.
For the summer-autumn crop, Tra Vinh’s first large-scale field in Phu Can commune, Tieu Can district attracted 302 households with an area of 300 ha. Thanks to a 30-per cent reduction in production costs, productivity increased by hundreds of kilograms and farmers’ income was increased by 20-30 per cent compared with the scattered farming practised earlier.
On a 1,000 ha field in Vinh Binh commune, Chau Thanh district, An Giang province, nearly 500 participating households saw an increase of over 150 per cent in profits in the winter-spring crop.
To help farmers in post-harvest rice preservation, the An Giang Plant Protection Joint Stock Company, a pioneer in building large-scale fields in the Mekong River Delta, has built two more rice drying factories and storage facilities in Thoai Son district, An Giang province and Tan Hong district, Dong Thap province, in addition to its existing 500 tonne-per-day rice drying factory and 35,000 tonne storehouse in Chau Thanh district, An Giang province.
Mekong Delta provinces have registered to implement the model of large-scale fields on a total area of 70,000 ha in 2012.