Venezuela uses Vietnamese method to boost rice harvest

May 14th, 2009 - 7:03 am ICT by IANS  

Caracas, May 14 (EFE) Venezuela has began a project to grow rice using Vietnamese technology, a method that replaces chemical fertilisers with fish in water channels between the rice plots.
Officials hope the crop yields would increase by as much as 30 percent after using the method.

In a national broadcast, President Hugo Chavez Wednesday praised the “great advances” in agriculture achieved by the Vietnamese, whom he called a “fighting people”.

The pilot project will be carried out in a 65,000-hectare area in Apure state.

The project will use several rice hybrids created from Venezuelan and Vietnamese seeds.

Fertilisers and other chemicals would be replaced by fish in water channels between the rice plots.

Chavez emphasised that the agreement with Vietnam would allow Venezuela to “increase … (rice) productivity by 30 percent, (provide) environmental benefits and (create) new jobs” in the region.

Venezuela also has another collaborative project with Vietnam - shrimp farming in the western Falcon state.

The projects with Vietnam would see an investment of about $26 million in the country.

Nguyen Van Bo, head of Vietnam’s Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said the two countries would continue moving forward with the development of hybrid rice varieties and farming techniques.

Chavez has started a programme to make Venezuela self-sufficient in staple foods.

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