Restoring production in key agricultural areas
Cao Lanh District People's Committee establishes teams to fertilise, spray and harvest agricultural products for farmers. (Photo: Huu Nghia)
NDO – Mekong Delta provinces are implementing many solutions to restore and boost agricultural production even in the complicated context of the COVID-19 pandemic to meet the high demand for food consumption and export by the end of the year.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s working group on directing production and connecting the supply and consumption of agricultural products in the southern provinces (Working group 970), the group has connected more than 1,400 suppliers of agricultural products in order to successfully consume 300-400 tonnes of agricultural products per day.
As localities gradually control the pandemic in the near future, it will be necessary to quickly restore production to maintain farmers' livelihoods and ensure food supply for the remaining months of the year.
Maintaining seasonality and the quality of agricultural products
Tran De district - one of the key shrimp farming areas in Soc Trang province has recently bred about 4,500 ha of shrimp (the yearly plan at 4,150 ha of shrimp) and it is estimated to breed about 5,000 ha of shrimp by the end of this September.
Phan Van Ly Son, from Trung Binh commune, Tran De district said that shrimp farmers like him are facing difficulties due to the lack of shrimp feed and day labour. However, production activities are still being maintained as they have been informed that the demand for shrimp will increase sharply in the coming months, so farming households have considered appropriate production plans to supply raw shrimp for processing factories.
Dong Thap province has sown over 107,000 ha of their autumn-winter rice crop, reaching 89.9% of the plan. The total area of fruit trees is over 37,400 ha, mainly concentrated in Chau Thanh and Lai Vung districts, currently being cared for and harvested.
In order to maintain agricultural production during the social distancing period, many localities in the province have developed programmes to support farmers. Chairman of the Cao Lanh District People's Committee, Le Chi Thien said that the district has directed the People's Committees of communes to quickly establish teams to fertilise, spray and harvest agricultural products for farmers.
The district has established 70 teams with 206 members to help local farmers with fertilising, spraying and harvesting agricultural products when needed. All members participating in the model have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Since its establishment, the teams have supported local farmers to fertilise, spray, harvest and consume more than 500ha of agricultural products.
Not only farmers are boosting production, enterprises have also gradually restored operations and resumed the purchasing and processing of agricultural products for export according to the instructions of each locality.
Tran Anh Tuan, director of Khanh Sung Co., Ltd in Nam Chanh hamlet, Lich Hoi Thuong commune, Tran De district said his company has a high-tech shrimp farming area of about 60 ha to serve its exports. When Soc Trang province ended the implementation of social distancing according to Directive 16, the company's production was quite favourable, as a large number of workers have returned to work and shrimp prices have begun to increase day by day.
According to Deputy Director of the Department of Crop Production Le Thanh Tung, the winter-spring rice crop will begin early in this October, the main crop of the Mekong Delta region with a cultivated area of about 1.5 million ha and estimated output of more than 10 million tonnes of rice. Therefore, agricultural materials to serve the production of this rice crop need to be prepared soon, particularly the rice seed.
The rice seed demand for the whole crop is estimated at more than 200,000 tonnes while local companies and institutions can only supply a maximum of 150,000 tonnes.
Thus, there is still a shortage of about 50,000 tonnes, requiring localities to find the right source of seeds in a timely manner.
According to Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Long An province, Dinh Thi Phuong Khanh, amid the shortage of rice seed, the province has advanced the budget for the provincial agricultural service centre to purchase rice seed to provide for farmers. The worrisome problem is that farmers lack money to buy seeds, so the State needs to have a policy to support 50% of the cost of rice seeds .
The restoration of agricultural production has been identified a key task in this period, according Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam. Nam, who is also head of the Working Group 970 said that in order to maintain production, ensure food security, and maintain Vietnam's agricultural export market, Working Group 970 has proposed the Government build and issue a resolution on restoring agricultural production across the country. In which, priority should be given to the restoration of agricultural production during and after the pandemic in the Southern provinces.
Accordingly, localities need to develop unified plans for the production of agricultural, livestock and aquaculture products and provide specific instructions for farmers.
Meanwhile, eligible enterprises should be allowed to expand the “3 on-site” production model and switch from the “3 on-site” option to the “one route, many destinations” option.
At the same time, enterprises have also proposed the implementation of on-site health care and the promotion of production at enterprises in green zones with no infected workers in order to boost production across all agricultural sectors.
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