Alternative rice–shrimp farming model has been increasingly applied in the Mekong Delta. This cultivation model is not only environmentally friendly and a way to adapt to climate change, but also helps farmers to improve their incomes. In particular, with this model, farmers use few chemicals because the residues or waste from each shrimp farming can be utilized as fertilizer for field soil of rice cultivation. Additionally, during rice cultivation, disease pathogens are destroyed so that shrimp have few diseases. Presently, Kiên Giang province is the largest shrimp – rice farming area in the delta. The combined farming area has increased more than 7-fold since 2000, according to provincial Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development. Furthermore, this model can offer farmers to utilize rice fields in most coastal area in the dry season for shrimp farming because the saline intrusion makes rice cultivation impossible. The model has brought significant economic benefits compared to single rice farming. For example, the incomes of farmers in Bến Tre province have increased from two to three times.
However, the irrigation systems in most areas of the delta need renovation to improve the efficiency of shrimp-rice farming. More specifically, farmers still rely on rainwater for freshwater supply. The majority of canals are open, this makes saltwater enter the rice field and damage the crop in times of drought and hot weather. Local authorities are calling for investment in the construction of irrigation projects for shrimp – rice farming areas.
Source & further information: “Mekong Delta expands environmentally-friendly shrimp-rice farms” at https://vietnamnews.vn, accessed on 14 December 2021.