Agriculture : Continued Support for the Economy

9:00:12 AM | 11/4/2022

As one of key agricultural producers in the Mekong Delta and in Vietnam, in recent years, Soc Trang has actively restructured agriculture towards environmentally friendly production and increased added value for sustainable development. Thereby, its supporting role for social and economic development is reaffirmed.

Unleashing potential and advantages

Locational advantages, soil conditions and water sources enable Soc Trang to develop diversified and sustainable agriculture, with fisheries defined as a key economic sector, rice as the main product of the cultivation sector; and fruits as a strong product that is gradually penetrating into domestic and foreign markets and helping increase export value.

Fragrant rice varieties (ST24, ST25, etc.) combined with shrimp farming bring high economic efficiency in Soc Trang

Currently, the arable rice land area in Soc Trang stretches 327,000 ha and harvests over 2 million tons a year. The province focuses on growing high-quality rice varieties and specialty rice (like ST24 and ST25) cultivated on 240,000 ha (accounting for over 73% of the area. The area is expanded by 235,000 ha over 2000). Especially at the 9th International Conference on Rice Trade held in Macau in 2017, ST24 rice won the "Top 3 best rice in the world" award. In Manila (Philippines), ST25 rice won the world's best rice award in 2019.

Soc Trang province will strive to bring the share of agricultural, forestry and fishery production made in the form of cooperation and association to over 30%; the share of GAP-certified products to over 25%; and the share of high-tech agricultural products to over 20% by 2025.

Together with rice, fruits are also a strength of the province, grown on 28,410 ha, including more than 50% of area planted with specialty crops such as mango, pomelo, longan and star apple. Soc Trang province established 75 concentrated and licensed production areas of 497 ha for export. In addition, many highly effective commercial breeding models are being scaled up in such localities as Nga Nam, Thanh Tri, Tran De and Long Phu.

In particular, aquaculture is considered a key economic sector and an important contributor to the province's GRDP, thanks to its locational advantages in the lower Mekong Delta where there are convenient water sources adjacent to the East Sea. Black tiger shrimp farming is increasingly being expanded with many commercial shrimp - rice production models. Commercial fishing and fishing logistics are being positively changed. Tran De Fishing Port is a logistics base for fishing boats in the province and the region. Soc Trang is also among leading seafood exporters in the country.

In 2021, despite being heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the agricultural sector of Soc Trang province still achieved positive results, with many targets reaching and exceeding their given plans. The agriculture, forestry and fishery sector grew by 0.22%, accounting for 44.7% of the GRDP. Most prominently, seafood exports reached US$1.03 billion, representing a year on year growth of 22.91%. Hence, the agricultural sector affirmed its support role as an important contributor to local socioeconomic development.

Accelerating restructuring, sustainability

Carrying out the Prime Minister's Decision 255/QD-TTg dated February 25, 2021 approving the agricultural restructuring plan in 2021 - 2025; and Resolution 127/2020/NQ-HDND dated December 9, 2020 of the Provincial People's Council on the 5-year socioeconomic development plan in 2021 - 2025, the agricultural sector of Soc Trang has accelerated crop restructuring and transformation based on local advantages.
In 2021, the province converted 1,006 ha of rice land to other crops and livestock, 784 ha of sugarcane land to other crops and livestock; planted 44,293 ha of vegetable crops and short-term industrial plants. The area of fruit trees is currently 28,410 ha, an increase of 2.3% over 2020.

The province has maintained and expanded advanced production models such as VietGAP-certified cash crop, short-term industrial plant and fruit tree cultivation (925 ha) and organic crops (15,426 ha). Soc Trang has operated 117 net houses for growing vegetables, covering a total area of 6.7 ha. It also has seven VietGAP certified livestock models.

Soc Trang has also constructed 39 shrimp farms and facilities certified with GAP standards (ASC, BAP, VietGAP and GlobalGAP), four shrimp farming cooperatives (covering 200 ha) that sign business contracts with suppliers. Besides, many localities have applied combined highly effective production models such as dairy cow farming models in My Xuyen, Tran De and My Tu districts, and organic fragrant rice-shrimp farming model in My Xuyen district.

Mr. Huynh Ngoc Nha, Director of the Soc Trang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that crop and livestock restructuring and high-tech application to production has helped raise economic value, increase incomes and build new rural areas from locality to locality.

In the coming time, the department will further implement the Soc Trang agricultural restructuring plan in 2021 - 2025 with the goal of restructuring the agricultural sector in combination with new countryside construction, sustainable development, planned production, ecological environment protection and income increase for people. The province will give priority to key products like brackish water shrimp, paddy rice, fruits, cows, cattle, purple onion, cod fish and OCOP products.

Besides, it is important to gradually shift the thinking from "agricultural production development" to "agricultural economy development"; promote technology application and digital transformation in agriculture; form specialized farming areas and concentrated material areas; build value chains and interconnectivity in agricultural production chains. In particular, the province will accumulate production areas; develop planting area codes applied to organic products to meet domestic and foreign market needs, especially in the United States, Japan, South Korea and Europe. It will also cooperate with suppliers of agricultural products on e-commerce platforms.

In addition, regarding agricultural restructuring, the sector will shift the goal from "supporting the household economy" to "supporting the collective economy" and enhance cooperative production capacity. It will focus on and accelerate digital economy development in agriculture and rural areas, aligned with agricultural households, cooperatives and farmers. By 2025, Soc Trang province will strive to have over 80% of profitable agricultural cooperatives; have at least five cooperatives apply new cooperative models; and have at least 10 cooperatives join the One Commune One Product (OCOP) Program. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development also proposed the Provincial People's Committee to build an agricultural digital data system in the near future.

“With specific goals and tasks, the sector will strive to be more modern and efficient; improve agricultural value chains; increase agricultural competitiveness; and enhance livelihoods for people," said Huynh Ngoc Nha, Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

By Vietnam Business Forum