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Raising giant river prawns with rice – one way of environment-friendly cultivation
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(VNFU Portal) – In the context that climate change and saline intrusion become more and more complicated, people have paid more attention to the application of science and technology to production.

The alternate rice-prawn production proves its efficiency, generate clean, safe products and stable income to many farmers.

In mid-2020, the Ben Tre Agricultural Extension Center coordinated with An Thuan commune Farmers' Union, Thanh Phu district and Dai Hoa Loc commune, Binh Dai district to deploy the model of "alternate farming of male giant river prawns (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) and rice in paddy field" with a total area of 7 hectares.

An Thuan commune has had 5 households participating in the model, with a scale of 5 ha. Those selected households can ensure the conditions for production land, reciprocal capital, studiousness, application of new technical advances and a good reputation in the community. In particular, they must comply with the technical process of the Provincial Agricultural Extension Center.

During the implementation of the model, the Provincial Agricultural Extension Center cooperated with localities and households to well perform the stages from selecting households to supporting seeds, feed and biological products, providing technical guidance to households.

According to selected households, giant river prawns were purchased at reputable farms, with healthy and uniform offspring. Farmers raised offspring in nursery ponds for 1 to 2 months at a density of 100 offspring/m2, then switched to commercial production.

After 60 to 75 days of breeding, cracking the claws was to make prawns grow well and improve survival rate. Each course can implement 2 to 3 times of cracking.

In addition to the main food, which was industrial food, farmers also used food made from earthworms, sea fish, bran, snails, yellow snails,  etc.
Additionally, farmers paid attention to changing water for ponds regularly, the amount of water changed from 20 to 30% amount of water in the ponds. During the water supply process, it was necessary to check the balance between external environmental factors and the pond environment.

The participating households actively made reciprocal investments, monitored and managed ponds, applied technical processes. Results of the model showed that the survival rate of prawns reached more than 60%. Most of the households finished harvesting with an average yield of about 1 ton/ha.

Regarding rice, for each hectare of the model, farmers got 7 tons of clean rice. The profit from the model of rice-prawn production was about VND 100 million for each participating household.

Mr. Le Van Xia's household, living in An Dien hamlet, An Thuan commune, participated with the model at a scale of 1 ha. Like other participating households, Mr. Xia got supported with 70% of the cost of offspring and 70% of the cost of feed, along with technical support throughout the process.

Up to now, Mr. Xia has harvested 4 batches of prawns, earned a profit of about 70 million VND minus the cost. As for rice, he also obtained more than 7 tons of clean rice. The remaining prawns in the pond are estimated to be additionally valued at 50 million dong.

It can be seen that the application of scientific and technical advances to this model has helped people feel more confident in production; created the way of environmentally friendly farming, towards building a clean production area which is adapting to climate change.

Chairman of An Thuan commune Farmers' Union Pham Van Chot said that the current price and output of giant river prawns are very stable. When implementing this model, we created 2 clean products, prawns and rice which have been suitable for local soil conditions and climate change.
In the coming time, the Commune Farmers’ Union will coordinate with professional agencies to provide technical training and mobilize people to follow the model. In addition, we suggest that the Provincial Agricultural Extension Center continue to implement demonstration models for people to replicate this model.

The model of rice-male giant river prawn farming is an effective and sustainable way of production, helping to increase income for farmers.
This is a closed and reciprocal crop rotation model. On the other hand, this model has also limited negative impacts on the surrounding environment, thereby creating clean prawn products, maintaining the brand name "Thanh Phu clean rice", driving towards the production of clean commodity in response to climate change.
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