The model of growing siamese mud carps and giant river prawns in rice fields or stocking snakeheads during the flooding season has helped farmers in western provinces earn from hundreds million to billions dong each year.
As the flooding season came late this year with water level being lower than the average level of previous years, farmers in An Giang and Đồng Tháp lost the income from wild caught species from the Mekong river. However, upstream farmers embraced themselves for changing tides with new growing models, one of which were growing siamese mud carp together with giant river prawns in rice fields or stocking snakeheads. These models have helped them earn from hundreds million to billions dong each year.
In Hồng Ngự upper stream of Đồng Tháp province, farmer Bùi Nhân in An Bình B commune harvested the first crop of from growing siamese mud carps and giant river prawns in rice field. He said that he used to earn 250 million dong from two rice crops per year. Now he has shifted to rear siamese mud carps and all-male giant river prawn in the rice field and grown seasonal rice crops upon the direction of the ecosystem assurance for six years.
In July, when siamese mud carp is already harvested, Nhân starts to grow rice. After one months, he moves shrimp from the grow-out pond to the rice field. Shrimps intake impurities in the rice field and weigh up without any industrial feed. In his estimation, the output of 5-6 tons of giant river prawn can be sold at 150,000 dong/kg.
Head of the Economic Office in Hồng Ngự city Dương Phú Xuân said that the model of growing siamese mud carps in association with giant river prawns in the rice field that Nhân has been carrying out is a circulation loop, starting with February when high quality rice is cultivated together with giant river prawns until May when an estimated output of 42 tons of rice and 5-6 tons of prawns are harvested. From a 10ha field, a worth of around 3 billion dong can be earned from siamese mud carps, giant river prawns and rice.
Xuân said the resources of natural species have become exhausted. The new emerging model during the flooding season has helped farmers earn much higher passive income than that made from three rice crops.
Farmer Huỳnh Văn Kiểm in Thường Lạc commune of Hồng Ngự district said that his family started to stock snakehead after completing the summer-autumn rice crop in a 10ha field. When the flooding season approaches, he starts to stock the fish in the field so that they can eat impurities there. In his opinion, this model makes a three fold or fourfold increase in profit as compared to rice cultivation only. The models of growing snakeheads, siamese mud carps, and giant river prawns in association in rice fields have shown high economic value and helped retain and protect marine resources, and readily adapt to the impact of climate change.