Illustrative image. (Source: VNA)

The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang will focus on increasing the value and competitiveness of its agriculture produce this year, especially key items such as rice and fisheries, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Kien Giang, the country’s largest rice producer, targets producing 4.3 million tonnes of paddy this year, as well as catching and breeding a total of 755,000 tonnes of aquatic species, including 85,000 tonnes of shrimp.

Last year, the province harvested more than 4.2 million tonnes of paddy and the rate of high quality rice farming area accounted for 72 percent of the province’s total rice farming area.

The province also had 56 large - scale rice fields with a combined area of more than 33,000ha in many districts like Hon Dat, Go Quao, Tan Hiep and Chau Thanh districts.

It caught and bred a total of 845,430 tonnes of aquatic species last year. Of the figure, the outlet of shrimp cultivation was more than 82,000 tonnes, up 11 percent against 2018.

Agriculture production in the province faced several difficulties like early saltwater intrusion and declining fisheries resources last year, but it still exceeded the province’s targets for agriculture production last year.

To meet the targets this year, the province will focus on developing large commercial production to meet market demand.

This year the province will also establish more concentrated farming areas for agriculture produce.

Farmers will be encouraged to develop biological farming as well as cooperate with companies to establish value chains for agriculture produce.

It will strengthen managing the quality of rice seeds and increase the farming area of high-quality rice to 80 percent of the province’s total rice farming area this year.

In the fishing sector, the province will gradually reduce the quantity of catches and regenerate natural fisheries resources.

Quang Trong Thao, Deputy Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said fishermen had been encouraged to apply advanced techniques for post-harvest preservation to improve the quality and value of caught aquatic species.

“The province will better manage its fishing grounds and fishing activities in accordance with regulations,” he said.

In the aquaculture sector, the province will develop sustainable marine aquaculture along the coast, off-shore and islands. It will also diversify farming models and kinds of farmed aquatic species, especially aquatic species for export like shrimp.

The province will expand the model of breeding shrimp in two stages as it has offered high yield and quality.

Other effective and sustainable models like the rotation of shrimp and rice on the same rice field in coastal districts of U Minh Thuong and Hon Dat will be further developed.

The province has about 62,500ha of shrimp – rice farming area, the largest area in the delta. Under the model, farmers grow rice in the rainy season and breed shrimp in the dry season on the same rice fields.

The shrimp – rice farming model has been used for more than 20 years as it is environmentally friendly and is more effective than rice monoculture./.