The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Cà Mau has expanded the area for cultivating both giant river prawns and rice in the same rice fields, according to its Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Last year, the province, which is the country’s largest shrimp producer, had about 18,000ha devoted to breeding giant river prawns and growing rice, up 2.7 per cent against 2018.
The farming model produces an output of 250 kilogrammes of giant river prawns per hectare a crop and more than 4.3 tonnes of rice per hectare a crop.
Farmers can earn a profit of VNĐ15 – 20 million (US$650 – 870) per hectare a crop under the model.
The model produces clean rice and giant river prawns with few chemicals.
However, the breeding of giant river prawns in rice fields is on small scale and scattered. The investment in infrastructure for giant river prawn – rice farming is also not sufficient, according to the department.
In the province, giant river prawns are bred in rice fields, orchard ditches and ponds with other aquatic species.
Châu Công Bằng, deputy director of the department, said the province could expand the area for both giant river prawns and rice in the same rice fields to 50,000ha in 2025 if the zoning and investing in infrastructure for the model goes well.
The model adapts to climate change and contributes to sustainable, environmentally friendly agricultural production.
The province’s rice has high nutrient value, especially rice farmed under the shrimp – rice farming model.
Cà Mau is one of the delta’s provinces with large giant prawn farming areas. The province has favourable natural conditions for aquaculture and has many shrimp farming models like semi intensive farming, intensive farming, advanced extensive farming, shrimp – rice farming and shrimp forest farming.
The province has 45,000ha of shrimp – rice farming and 30,000ha of shrimp – forest farming. The farming areas breed giant river prawns, black tiger shrimp and white-legged shrimp.
Most shrimp – rice farming areas are in the districts of Trần Văn Thời, Thới Bình and U Minh.
Rice fields in the districts have suitable conditions as the shrimp grow well and eat mostly natural food and little processed food, according to the department.
For rice cultivation under the giant river prawn – rice farming model, the province has instructed farmers to grow saltwater-resistant rice varieties with short-term maturity like OM2517, ST24, OM5451, Cà Mau 1 and Cà Mau 3.
The province has encouraged farmers to link up with companies to secure outlets for their output, and has provided advanced farming techniques to farmers to improve yield and quality.
The province has also developed a model to breed male giant river prawns in rice fields under Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP) to improve yield and quality