Dong Thap province grows high-value crops in unproductive rice fields
Farmers in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap have switched to growing short-term crops and perennial trees and breeding aquatic species on nearly 5,000ha of paddies.
A bitter melon crop in what used to be a rice field in Dong Thap province’s Thanh Binh district. (Photo: VNS/VNA)
Dong Thap (VNS/VNA) – Farmers in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap have switched to growing short-term crops and perennial trees and breeding aquatic species on nearly 5,000ha of paddies.
The crops include vegetables, watermelon, corn, and lotus and the trees include mango, jackfruit, lime, and orange.
Mango, jackfruit, longan, and lime offer them a profit of 50-200 million VND (2,000-8,200 USD) per hectare per year, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Nguyen Van Long in Thanh Binh district’s Tan My commune has turned a one-hectare rice field into an orchard and grows guava, milk apple, along with some types of vegetables like bitter melon, gourds and okra. He earns more than 100 million VND (4,100 USD) a year, he said.
The restructuring has followed the province’s agricultural zoning plans, market demand, water availability, and weather conditions, according to the department.
The province has created concentrated farming areas by pooling lands and linkages between various stakeholders to develop agricultural value chains.
Le Quoc Dien, deputy director of the department, said farmers are encouraged to switch to suitable crops, especially if their rice fields are unproductive.
The restructuring aims to exploit the natural advantages in each locality and ensure sustainability, he said.
This would help develop specialised farming areas to ensure large outputs and develop brand names for agricultural products to serve exports, he added.
The province, one of the largest Thai jackfruit producers in the delta, has more than 3,000ha under the fruit, whose prices are now high and farmers earn profits of 10,000-20,000 VND per kilogramme.
With local soil conditions being ideal for it, the average yield is 40-50 tonnes per hectare per year.
The province aims to increase the Thai jackfruit growing area to 4,067ha by 2025.
During the ongoing flooding season and the autumn-winter crop, farmers there have grown 6,281ha of vegetables and other short-term crops.
They have harvested nearly 3,000ha of lotus, corn, taro, gourds, and watermelon and earned profits of 12-77 million VND (500-700 VND) per hectare per crop.
Most vegetable growing areas have adopted integrated pest management, safe farming methods and Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) or organic standards.
In Lap Vo district, taro is the key product and is grown on nearly 500ha in autumn-winter.
Tran Hoang Nam, Vice Chairman of the district People’s Committee, said taro has a yield of 10-11 tonnes per hectare and fetches profits of 70-80 million VND (2,900-3,300 USD).
The district has 100ha planted using safe farming methods, 108ha have received VietGAP certification and eight growing areas have production codes to serve domestic and export requirements./.
Published Date: November 3, 2023