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Ninh Thuan converts crops to save water

by P.V20 April 2016 Last updated at 07:34 AM

VTV.vn - As the Summer-Autumn crop season nears, local authorities in Ninh Thuận Province have been preparing cultivation plans.

The conversion of rice paddies to drought resistant plants is one of the most effective measures to decrease the amount of unused land. Over the past few years, Nhị Hà Commune in Ninh Thuận Province has left fields fallow due to water shortages. Despite difficult conditions, local people have continued planting rice. However, after the conversion of rice paddies to green beans during the Winter - Spring season, many farmers have changed their minds.

"After the conversion to green beans, my family can produce 550 kilos from 2,000 square metres. After excluding costs, we actually make better profits than from cultivating rice. I hope that the government can support more conversions, instead of keeping the land fallow" - said Pham Van Trung, Nhi Ha Commune, Thuan Nam District, Ninh Thuan Province.

Already 2 of 20 the province’s water tanks have run short of water and five have low levels. It’s predicted that over 10,000 hectares could be left uncultivated. In order to deal with the situation, Professor Ho Huy Cuong, Director of the Agricultural Science Institute for Southern Central Coastal Vietnam said that the conversion would help Ninh Thuan Province to decrease the large amount of land at risk of being left fallow.

"After converting rice paddies to green beans fields, we’ll continue to turn them into corn or sesame fields as they are drought-resistant crops. We need to keep the planting time more focused in order to ensure productivity and save water. As we are facing drought, it’s very important to avoid water loss through evaporation" - said Professor Ho Huy Cuong, Director of Agricultural Science Institute for Southern Central Coastal Vietnam.

One challenge for many agricultural areas after plant conversion is lack of seeds and finding OUTLETS for local products. Three major companies in the region have provided a guarantee to support farmers in the conversion process.

"Firstly, we aim to introduce farmers to new plants via providing them with high quality seeds. Secondly, we need to help farmers develop the correct cultivation techniques so they benefit financially. Thirdly, we connect domestic and foreign businesses to sell the local farmers’ products for the best prices" - said Vu Xuan Long, Deputy Director of Nha Ho Seed JSC, Ninh Thuan Province.

"We have set target of the conversion is to save water and there is no other choice. Ninh Thuận has faced many challenges in terms of water resources. The results that we seen this season have proved that the drought resistant plants will be more efficient than rice" - said Tran Quoc Nam, Vice Chairman of People Committee of Ninh Thuan Province.

Rain is predicted for June. However, the local authorities are determined to convert rice paddies during the 2016 Summer-Autumn season. Local departments are working closely in order to balance water resources and to minimise agricultural losses.

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