After 3 years of implementing Resolution 120/CP, Mekong Delta farmers have a new approach in production, changing from a passive position to an active response to saltwater intrusion.
In the Mekong Delta, climate change is increasingly evident. After three consecutive winter-spring (SW) rice crops, the salinity came earlier than usual and penetrated deeper into the hinterland. Taking care of rice first, from October to update the hydrological situation of the upstream flood water, the Department of Crop Production directly cooperates with the provinces of Long An, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh and Soc Trang to survey localities. schedule the sowing season one month earlier than the same period. As a result, by the end of December, most of the rice area is safe in the ripening and harvesting stage.
However, because there was a time when rice and vegetables were sold at a high price, farmers accustomed to cultivating the spring-summer crop faced risks and lacked water for irrigation. Especially in dry January, salinity penetrates deep into the river tributaries. In the two districts of Long Phu and Tran De, Soc Trang province, some farmers had to abandon their rice fields and die after sowing. Some households grow tomatoes until the fruit withers due to thirst. Many farmers realize the need for proper crop rotation to ensure stable, damage-free production. As a result of the 2020-2021 winter season, farmers in Long Phu and Tran De have won the rice season and won big.
Shifting the sowing schedule of early winter rice in areas at risk of drought and salinity threats
In 3 years (2017-2020), Soc Trang province has converted crops on more than 20,600 hectares of rice land. Many economic transformation models are starting to work. The model of converting from rice land to cropland annually generates a profit of 40-80 million VND/ha. The model of converting from rice to perennial crops generates a profit of 100-200 million VND/year. The model of rice cultivation combined with aquaculture such as the model of fish farming in the floating season gives a profit of 15-20 million VND/ha.
Soc Trang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development assessed the transformation models as the quickness of farmers. Farmers change production approach to catch up with market demand, creating higher income. Select plant varieties and animals with advantages, produce according to safety and quality standards. However, effective conversion requires irrigation conditions and water supply to irrigate crops in the dry season. Model of growing watermelons and vegetables in rice fields after harvesting the winter season, farmers must have ponds or ditches lined with canvas to keep enough water to irrigate a crop.
In the face of the effects of climate change, prolonged drought and salinity, it is necessary to invest in infrastructure to meet the requirements of production restructuring. The current existence is not only Soc Trang province, some localities have not boldly built a conversion planning area associated with linkage and consumption. Because of the limited investment capital, farmers have not yet boldly converted and are confused in choosing crops to meet market demand.
In fact, the production conversion area is still small, fragmented and spontaneous, because the market for agricultural products is still precarious. To move towards sustainable production, many localities encourage businesses to associate with cooperatives and farmers. Obviously, there should be a policy to attract businesses to participate.
Ben Tre province is created by three rows of islands with the strength of garden economy and marine economy. In which, the typical garden economy, coconut trees play a key role, with more than 73,000 hectares, over 29,000 hectares of fruit trees and over 30,000 hectares of specialized rice and single-crop rice. This is an ideal condition for Ben Tre farmers to move towards effective models of crop and livestock restructuring, contributing to economic growth for households.
In addition, Ben Tre will accelerate the construction and completion of the value chain of agricultural products, focusing on transforming the structure of plants and animals towards improving the quality and competitiveness of agricultural products, actively transforming inefficient rice-growing areas to grow crops, fruit trees, and livestock.
In the near future, Ben Tre province will promote the construction of geographical indications, trademarks, and trademarks of agricultural products. The roadmap by 2025 all 8 key agricultural products of the province and local specific products must be traceable or certified with geographical indications when put on the market.