Proposals to help agriculture, farmers and rural areas in Dong Thap Province 'takeoff'
Leading in agricultural reform
Mr. Nguyen Thanh Hung, Vice Chairman of Dong Thap Provincial People’s Committee informed that the province had been directing relevant sectors to accelerate agricultural reform focused on five key products that were rice, mango, shutchi catfish, flowers and duck. The province was the first province in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam pioneering and achieving many positive results in this aspect, he added. By the end of 2017, the total cultivation area of the province reached 598,000 ha, increasing 80,000 ha compared to 2008. Following that, production value exceeded 118 million dong per ha, creating a 49 million dong gap on the same unit in comparison with 2008.
VNFU Chairperson Thao Xuan Sung visits a red tilapia model in Cao Lanh District, Dong Thap Province. Photo by Huynh Xay.
"Related sectors of Dong Thap Province need to review area of land for agriculture, regional planning regarding to agriculture, farmers and rural areas to make them more properly since local farmers are currently not following market mechanism."
VNFU Chairman Thao Xuan Sung
Regarding livestock farming, the province established 6 duck cooperatives linking with enterprises for consumption. For fishery, due to the application of hi-tech, fishery production in 2017 hit more than 11,800 tons. For the time being, the province has over 1,500 facilities producing and providing aquaculture products, and 802 ha of fishery production area certified based on national and international standards.
According to Mr. Nguyen Thanh Hung, in order to make the production of local farmers more efficient, the province came up with an initiative which was establishing clubs as community connecting centers. Up to now, there are 51 clubs varying in all product clusters of the province. Furthermore, the province also set up new models such as “my family’s mango tree” with positive response.
“One more special thing is that the province open many ecotourism attraction at fruit, flower gardens which are following VietGAP, GlobalGAP. In 2017, the number of tourists coming here is 3.2 persons helping improve local people’s income”, Hung said.
According to Dong Thap Provincial Party Committee, performance of cooperatives in the province has had many considerable changes. One of the reason for this is that the province has been making effort to make young staff vice director of cooperstives. Up to this point, there have been dozens of young staff with appropriate capacity contributing to cooperative development.
Ms. Huynh Thi Hoai Thu, Secretary of Cao Lanh District Party Committee, said: “Cao Lanh District is the pioneer in agriculture restructuring with shutchi catfish, red tilapia and mango to be main products. Farm households are very proactive in building brand for their products, as a result, they have been producing in clean, safe and quality-guaranteed environment.”
During the working session with Dong Thap Provincial Party Committee, the monitoring group assessed that Dong Thap Province had made a lot of efforts in terms of agricultural reform, changing farmers’ mindset, outdated ways of doing. Many ideas were pointed out such as establishing agricultural cooperatives, finding young staff to be vice director of those cooperatives.
However, the limits of this province are still only focusing on agricultural development without preparing for consumption. To be more specific, the province only sends technical staff to cooperatives to guide them on how to produce delicious products, but not sending business ones to support farmers even though these staff are actually very necessary.
Moreover, according to the report, most of the income of people in Dong Thap are from fruit trees, aquaculture products instead of rice. Therefore, it’s essential to cut down production area of rice in this year, and find other plan for replacement to help farmers increase their income from the same area of production, improve soil’s quality.
Chairperson of VNFU, Thao Xuan Sung, suggested sending staff to Ha Giang Province to observe and learn from its local economic development models to Dong Thap Provincial Party Committee. The reason of this suggestion is that despite small area, many disadvantages especially lack of water, the local people there produce very efficiently.
Acknowledging the suggestion of VNFU Chairperson, Mr. Nguyen Ton Hoang, Vice Secretary of Provincial Party Committee, said: “Besides learning from experience of other provinces, in time to come, we will continue promote achieved results, step by step develop towards smart agriculture, modern rural areas. To be more specific, we will do our best to make growth rate of the local agro-forestry and fishery reach 4.2% per year.”