Successful Rice - Shrimp Model in Ca Mau

1:40:19 PM | 25/4/2012

Ca Mau province has more than 298,025 hectares of aquaculture farms, including 265,000 hectares for shrimp breeding and the remainder for other fish farming. The province is cultivating 130,100 hectares of rice, with an average productivity of 4.152 tonnes per hectare. Natural conditions endow it considerable advantages for development. Ca Mau is successfully tapping its advantages. And, its rice - shrimp production model is a striking example.
In 2009, Ca Mau province initiated the project “Improving productivity and efficiency in shrimp - rice production in the 2009 - 2012 period and with orientation to 2015.” This project put forth producing different crops and livestock on the same land. After nearly three years of implementation, it created new vigorous breakthroughs in production. The most successful combination is the rice - shrimp model. Mr Chau Cong Bang, Deputy Director of Ca Mau Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said: 2011 was seen as a milestone marking the success of rice - shrimp model. In the year, the province cultured shrimps on 265,000 ha, with the average yield of 443 kg per ha a year (an increase of 36 kg over 2010), totalling 117,352 tonnes, accounting for nearly a quarter of shrimp cultured in the country. Industrial shrimp farming area also increased to 3,511 ha (an expansion of over 700 ha compared with the plan), with average productivity of 5 tonnes of prawn/ha/harvest and 10 tonnes of white-legged shrimp/ha/harvest. The area of extensive shrimp farming also exceeded 10,000 ha, 10 times that of 2010, with the productivity of 500 - 700 kg/ha. The rapid expansion of industrial and extensive shrimp farming areas helps offset material shortages suffered by local processing facilities.
Since the project was launched, the Ca Mau Agricultural and Fishery Extension Centre and the Ca Mau Agricultural Seedling Centre have tested and represented over 100 new rice varieties. More than 20 high-yield, adaptive varieties were selected for production, including OM 2717, OM 2718, OM 4489, OM 4655, OM 2395, OM 4900, OM 6162, OM 6073, OM 5472, OM 6677 and OM 6976. Most rice varieties have high productivity and good adaptability. The average yield is 5.5 tonnes per hectare. Besides, the agricultural sector also collaborated with the Ca Mau Department of Science and Technology and the Mekong Delta Research Development Institute (Can Tho University) successfully restored two local varieties, namely Mot Bui Do and Tep Hanh, which are planted in shrimp breeding areas. Each year, the provincial agricultural seedling centre supplies more than 6,000 tonnes of certified rice grains to the market.
The most significant success since the launch of the project is the public awareness about changing new rice varieties. The area of new high-yield varieties has expanded considerably.
The using rate of certified rice grains was 20 percent in 2008, 42 percent in 2009, over 50 percent in 2010, and over 60 percent in 2011. Average rice yield increased from 3.6 tonnes per ha in 2005 to 4.152 tonnes in 2011. Many places reported 5.5 - 6.5 tonnes, and even 7 tonnes per ha.
Apart from rice - shrimp model, the combination of other crops and livestock is expanded. The project “Improving productivity and efficiency in shrimp - rice production” has created organic, safe and high-valued products. The success of pilot models in the project created the trust of farmers and changed farming practices and techniques. Farmers are applying scientific and technical advances to shrimp farming models and replacing antibiotics-containing substances with probiotics ones. Especially, with its huge advantages, more and more farmers are using the shrimp - rice production model. Given unsynchronised irrigation systems, limited farming levels and disease outbreaks in new shrimp farming models, the rice - shrimp production model is proven the best choice for farmers. Effective use of water sources in two different water seasons (salty and fresh) will generate more values for farmers. For that reason, the project not only makes breakthroughs in production but also orientates sustainable agricultural development.
After three years of implementing the project, the quality and productivity of rice and shrimp increased significantly while production costs decreased. Besides, the new method is more environment-friendly, better for human health and supportive of sustainable agricultural development.
Mr Bang said: To promote existing aquacultural potentials and to meet the demand for shrimps from local processing plants, Ca Mau province will expand the industrial shrimp farming area to 10,000 ha by 2010 and 20,000 ha by 2020. The province will build shrimp processing complex. This is considered a strategic target. And, the only way to bring the seafood industry of Ca Mau province to a new high is to develop industrial shrimp farming. Under the current context and conditions, to expand the area of shrimp - rice production model, Ca Mau will synchronise production planning solutions, especially farming area planning. The production infrastructure will be upgraded to ensure best production results.
Thanh Tan