Agriculture

In the process of industrialization of Ben Tre's economy, for now agriculture remains the most important section. In this section, cultivation plays the most part, accounts for as much as 73.7% of the gross agricultural output values, and grows by as high as 5.2% per year, nearly double that of livestock breeding (2.9%).

a. Cultivation:


Ben Tre has a diverse structure of crops such as fruit tree, rice, coconut, sugar cane, etc. In recent years, there has been positive changes in the structure of crops. The ratio of fruit trees output value, for example, has grown sharply from 6.9% (1990) to 29.1% (2000), becoming the mainstay, while at the same time, the ratio of rice has declined from 43.7% down to 24.9%. In 2002, the cultivation scheme was moving toward the reduction of low-yield rice fields, switching to aquaculture, sugar cane crops and fruit trees. Since 2000, the rice field area declined to 34% from 35%, and fruit trees area was up from 22.45% to 26%, meanwhile changes in coconut tree and sugar cane areas were relatively insignificant. Many large-scale irrigational works (such as Tan Huong-Quoi Dien, Vam Ho, Ba Lai) have been built to supply for 65% of total cultivating area, thus securing for stable production in specialized cultivating areas.

+ The most concentration of orchards lie in the West side districts, especially in Cho Lach, Chau Thanh, ... with approximately 27,000 hectares. In addition to increasing land area, further investment and application of new technologies and technical initiatives in breeding and cultivating have also been the driving force to develop high-quality orchards. This has been seen as the prime cause for the now-recognized facts that Ben Tre has been considered the land of well-known fruits such as durian, longan, rambutan, and mangosteen, etc.

+ The high-yielding rice fields are distributed mainly in the North and West-North districts, and in recent years, these fields have been extended to Giong Trom and Ba Tri districts. This is due greatly to the efficient operation of irrigational works that have helped retaining fresh water and preventing salt water. Rice field areas now accounts for about one third of the total agricultural land area.

 

+ Coconut trees and sugar cane are Ben Tre's two leading industrial crops. Of these, coconut tree is more important and mostly grown in the saltish water zones in Chau Thanh, Giong Trom and Mo Cay districts, with a relatively stable coverage of 31,600 hectares. Sugar cane - the most important raw material for the sugar industry in Ben Tre - has been better developed in both cultivating area, output and productivity due to reasonable investments in new technologies and techniques. The coverage of sugar cane at the moment is about 16,000 hectares, distributed mainly in Mo Cay, Thanh Phu and Chau Thanh districts.

Beside all these, there are quite a lot of other short-term crop plants such as vegetables, beans, tobacco, rush, etc thanks to the deployment of various forms of cultivation such as intercrop and crop rotation, and the economically use of new stretches of alluvial soil along river sides. This extensive cultivation scheme has helped with more supplies of food, raw materials for handicraft, and, last but not least, as a job generator for local labourers.


b. Livestock farming:


Leading species in livestock breeding structure include pig and poultry (chicken and duck). Main commercial products include pork and poultry meat (65% of production), and eggs (15%). In recent years, beside family raise, small- and medium-sized semi-industrial forms of breeding have also been developed. Moreover, thanks to good technical services in care taking, breeding, veterinary, etc, the output values have been increased, now accounting up to 30.4% of the agricultural output values.

The first and foremost approach of choice in pushing up the productivity of Ben Tre's agriculture is to carry out more profound transformation of crop plants and livestock, thus furthering high-yield and sustained production to produce a great volume of commrecial products. Secondly, agricultural production must be closely connected to food processing industry and supporting services in order to produce highly competitive products that can stand firm in domestic as well as abroad markets.

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