Shifting agricultural production in drought and saline areas

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.

Nông dân ở vùng ven biển ĐBSCL áp dụng kỹ thuật canh tác tiết kiệm nước, lúa trúng mùa, chắc hạt. Ảnh: HĐ

Fast conversion

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.

Chuyển lịch thời vụ gieo sạ lúa ĐX sớm ở vùng nguy cơ hạn, mặn đe dọa. Ảnh: TL

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.

Accelerate restructuring

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.

Dừa là một trong những cây trồng thích nghi hạn mặn, được nông dân quan tâm chuyển đổi. Ảnh: MĐ
Coconut is one of the drought-adapted crops that farmers are interested in converting

Mr. Huynh Quang Duc, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Ben Tre province, said that under the influence of climate change, drought and saltwater intrusion for a long time, the inefficient rice cultivation area was converted to crops by people. other more efficient. Besides, the combination of rice farming with shrimp and cow farming has brought 2-3 times more efficiency on the same farming area for farmers.

Cows and shrimp are also livestock adapted to climate change. Therefore, the combination will give farmers innovation in farming. Based on the actual available conditions, farmers have gradually converted production accordingly to increase income on the same cultivated area.

In 2020, the total cultivated rice area in the province will reach over 31,000 hectares, with an output of over 135,000 tons. The rice area decreased by over 24,000 hectares compared to 2017, the output decreased by nearly 92,000 tons. The area and production of rice decreased because farmers changed rice land to other crops and aquaculture, and at the same time implemented the policy of sowing 2 crops/year (some places did not sow the winter crop to avoid damage due to drought. salty). At the same time, the area of ​​fruit trees increased and developed in the direction of specialized cultivation, planting specialty trees of high value such as longan, rambutan, durian, green-skinned pomelo…

Ms. Tran Thi Thu, a farmer in Binh Thanh commune, Giong Trom district, has just converted more than 3,000 square meters of inefficient rice land into beds to grow coconuts and grass for cows. On rice land in low-lying areas, there are 2 crops per year for rice cultivation, low productivity, and precarious income. Moreover, in recent years, due to the influence of saline water, rice production is not efficient. Last winter rice crop, Mrs. Thu did not sow the seed, so she planted coconut trees in combination with growing grass to raise cows.

Today, farmers in Ben Tre province have been gradually transforming from thinking about agricultural production to thinking about doing agricultural economy. They have considered, more cautious in choosing subjects, scale and time of production, linking product consumption, environmental management, implementing measures to prevent drought and disease. . In addition, the application of science and technology, clean production according to Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) standards is interested by people in many crops and livestock such as aquatic products, fruit trees, and livestock. pig…

Up to now, many agricultural products of the province have been certified or are under construction of geographical indications and trademarks such as green Siamese coconut, green pomelo, longan, durian, rambutan, pig, cow, etc. The market accepted it quite well, creating a typical brand for Ben Tre agricultural products.

Vice Chairman of Ben Tre Provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Minh Canh said: In the coming time, the province will continue to define agricultural restructuring as one of the key tasks in socio-economic development, contributing to improving the quality of life. material and spiritual life for the people, accelerate sustainable agricultural development.

Ben Tre has set a target that by 2025, the economic growth rate (GRDP) in agriculture, forestry and fishery will increase by an average of 4-4.7%/year; Product value per hectare of cultivation area reached 180 million VND/ha, aquatic products reached 450 million VND/ha…

Accordingly, Ben Tre province will restructure agricultural production in the direction of concentration, specialization, and large-scale farming along the value chain, promoting the application of science and technology to production to create agricultural production. goods with good quality and high competitiveness. In the period of 2021-2025 and with orientation to 2030, Ben Tre will promote restructuring and comprehensive agricultural development in a modern direction on the basis of synchronous adjustment of master plans and plans on land use based on local advantages, regional ecology, market demand and response to climate change.

Chuyển đổi đất lúa kém hiệu quả sang trồng cây ăn trái. Ảnh: MĐ

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.