New agricultural models help Mekong farmers adapt to climate change

By Lam Le, Ha PhuongMay 9, 2016 | 12:45 am PT
In response to increasing salinity in the Mekong province of Kien Giang, authorities have successfully introduced new farming techniques that have boosted productivity.

From 2011 to 2015, the Kien Giang Agricultural Extension Center has developed 38 demonstration models covering 36 hectares to help farmers affected by salt water intrusion. One giant tiger prawn co-culture model could yield as much as VND150 million/ha ($6,700/ha) in profit. Additionally, the province has been applying advanced technology in crab farming in the districts of An Bien and An Minh with positive results.

Dr. Do Minh Nhut, deputy director of the Kien Giang Agriculture and Rural Development Department, said the success of the models has improved farmers' incomes, created jobs for people in coastal areas, prevented exploitation of forests and helped adapt to climate change and rising sea levels.


Productivity and profitability of a select number of demonstration models applied in Kien Giang.

The prawn – rice model is among the most successful, according to Nhut. It has helped many farmers escape poverty and has the potential for expansion.

In the next five years, Kien Giang will continue to implement more climate change adaptation programs and projects. They include a “big field” model to meet export demand; sesame, watermelon, honeydew and corn crop rotations on rice fields; salinity resistant crop development; and the application of the latest science and technology.

Increasing salinity in the Mekong Delta has seriously affected aquaculture, especially freshwater shrimp breeding, according to Vietnam's Directorate of Fisheries.

The directorate said about 2,000 hectares of breeding ponds have been contaminated by salt water. In the first two months of this year, the area dedicated to shrimp farming in the region totaled only 358,000 hectares for giant tiger prawn and 9,700 hectares of white leg prawn. This is 87 percent and 73 percent respectively of the area under cultivation during the same period last year.

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