TIỀN GIANG – The coastal area of Gò Công, a major agricultural hub in Tiền Giang Province, has taken effective measures against drought and saltwater intrusion into rivers this year.
Ưng Hồng Nghi, deputy director of the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said to cope with seawater intrusion in Gò Công the province had built dams and sluice gates to keep out saltwater and keep in freshwater during the early part of the dry season this year.
The Mekong Delta province had also set up cropping schedules for the 2018-19 winter – spring crop to mitigate the damage caused by drought, he said.
Rice fields in areas near the coast or lacking water for irrigation had switched to drought – and saltwater- resistant crops for winter – spring, he added.
Nguyễn Văn Qúi, head of the Gò Công Đông District’s Agriculture and Rural Development Division, said farmers in the district had a bumper harvest in the winter – spring rice crop with an average yield of 6.9 tonnes per hectare.
The district’s farmers also planted more than 5,000ha of other crops such as water melon, squash and gourds, earning high incomes, he said.
Nguyễn Văn Ga, director of the Kiểng Phước Global GAP Dragon Fruit Co-operative in Gò Công Đông District’s Kiểng Phước Commune, said dragon fruit had been cultivated in recent years and it grew well in the district’s coastal areas.
Farmers earned VNĐ500 – 600 million (US$21,530 – 25,840) per hectare of the fruit annually, he said.
Gò Công Đông farmers had turned nearly 130ha of low-yield rice fields into dragon fruit orchards and export the fruit, he said.
Gò Công often suffers from severe drought and saltwater intrusion in the dry season, affecting rice, vegetable and fruit production.
Under the province’s plan to restructure agriculture in the coastal areas of Gò Công from now through 2025, three rice crops will not be grown and, instead, one to two rice crops will be rotated with other crops.
This is aimed at helping Gò Công cope with drought and saltwater, improving farmers’ incomes and developing agriculture sustainably.
Gò Công has around 30,000ha under rice and an annual output of nearly 500,000 tonnes of paddy.
In 2016 it faced severe drought and saltwater intrusion, which destroyed more than 5,000ha of rice and thousands of hectares of vegetables and fruits, according to the province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. – VNS