Farmers in the Mekong Delta enjoy a bumper rice crop. (Photo: SGGP)
During these days, farmers in Dong Thap, Hau Giang provinces, and Can Tho City have started to harvest the early summer-autumn rice in the joy of a bumper crop. Mr. Nguyen Van Khoa, a farmer who cultivates 2 hectares of rice in Dong Binh Commune in Thoi Lai District in Can Tho City, excitedly said that in the summer-autumn rice crop, thanks to less damage from pests and sufficient water supply, most farmers have enjoyed good harvest with average paddy production of 6.5-7 tons per hectare, higher than the same period last year. Regular rice variety fetched VND5,000-5,200 per kilogram; long-grain paddy was bought at VND5,300-VND5,500 per kilogram; fragrant rice was collected at VND5,600-VND5,900 per kilogram. After deducting expenses, farmers earned a profit from VND20 million to VND30 million per hectare, the highest level in the past several years.
Sharing the same joy, Mr. Lam Van Sau, a farmer in Thanh Loc Commune in Giong Rieng District in Kien Giang Province, said that after a bumper winter-spring rice crop despite severe drought and saltwater intrusion, the weather was more pleasant in the summer-autumn rice crop. Besides, high paddy prices have also urged farmers to zealously invest and take care of their rice. As a result, the early summer-autumn rice crop will give a good harvest.
In Dong Thap Province, farmers sowed 190,000 hectares of summer-autumn rice. At present, farmers in some places are harvesting rice. Mr. Nguyen Van Doi, Director of Binh Thanh Agricultural Services Cooperative in Lap Vo District, said that more than 1,000 hectares of summer-autumn rice crop of cooperative members have just been harvested with a fairly yield of 7 tons per hectare. Good harvest and high paddy price, along with smooth consumption, have made farmers ecstatic.
According to the Department of Plant Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, to implement thoroughly the guideline to produce summer-autumn rice in the Mekong Delta simultaneously, concentratedly, and quickly in each region based on reasonable water supply and avoiding brown plant-hoppers amid the context of a good forecast for rice consumption, provinces have grown more than 1.53 million hectares of rice with an estimated production of more than 8.7 million tons of paddy, up 31,000 tons compared to the same period last year. In the past days, most of the harvested rice-growing areas gave high productivity and farmers earned good profits. From now to September, it will be peak harvest time of summer-autumn rice in the Mekong Delta. After subtracting the amount of rice for domestic consumption, around 2.3-2.5 million tons of rice will be reserved for export.
The Irrigation General Department said that from June to September this year, the total rainfall in the Mekong Delta will be approximately the average of many years; to October, the total rainfall will be 15 percent -30 percent higher than the average for many years. As for storm forecast this year, the East Sea area tends to operate later than the average for many years and there will possibly be 11-13 storms, and tropical depressions. The National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting stated that it is unlikely that floods will occur early in the Southern delta. The flood peak this year at the headwaters of the Mekong River on the Tien River in Tan Chau and the Hau River in Chau Doc is forecast to range from alert 1 to alert 2, which is 0.2 – 0.4 meters lower than the average for many years. The peak of flood is around the end of September this year.
From the forecasts, Mr. Le Thanh Tung, Deputy Director of the Department of Crop Production, said that the autumn-winter rice crop this year in the Mekong Delta is expected to have two production options. Option one, it is estimated to sow 750,000 hectares of rice, an increase of 25,800 hectares over the same period last year; rice production is estimated at 4.1 million tons, up 215,000 tons. In June, farmers will start sowing rice on an area of over 286,000 hectares and end sowing in September. After monitoring for the last five years, the area of autumn-winter rice in the Mekong Delta ranges from 730,000 to 770,000 hectares. Therefore, option one is considered the most feasible. For Option two, it is expected to grow 800,000 hectares of rice, an increase of 75,800 hectares over the same period; production is estimated at 4.4 million tons, up 492,000 tons. The reason is that flood is expected to be small this year, and the price of rice is high, so it is necessary to increase the production of autumn-winter rice crop. Moreover, the increase in the production of autumn-winter rice is also to partially make up for the shortage of the winter-spring crop of 2019-2020 due to the impacts of drought and saltwater intrusion. And in the winter rice crop in the Mekong Delta, farmers will sow more than 176,000 hectares, up 5,800 hectares; the rice yield is estimated at 845,000 tons, an increase of 65,000 tons. The sowing time is from July to August for the shrimp-rice production areas and September for winter rice-growing areas.
Mr. Nguyen Thanh Hung, Vice Chairman of Dong Thap People’s Committee, shared that in the first two quarters of this year, the rice export situation in the province increased about 20 percent in volume and 12 percent in value. Because of these advantages, the province continues to require localities to coordinate with farmers to sow the autumn-winter rice crop early to harvest before the floods come. After that, they should closely monitor changes in weather and water levels to produce early the winter-spring crop of 2020-2021 to ensure good results.
By Huynh Loi, Dang Nguyen – Translated by Thuy Doan
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