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Vietnamese agricultural experts show African farmers the way to grow rice
Vietnamese agricultural experts show African farmers the way to grow rice

A delegation of Vietnamese agricultural experts left Vietnam on August 20 for Sierra Leone in eastern Africa for a co-operation programme to show farmers there the way to grow Vietnamese rice varieties.

The delegation include Professor, Dr Vo Tong Xuan, head of the An Giang University and five agricultural engineers. They bring along 50 varieties of Vietnamese rice.

According to Mr Xuan, Vietnamese engineers will build a small irrigation work which has an irrigating capacity for 200 hectares of rice. They will then grow on a trial basis different Vietnamese rice varieties so that in the end two to three varieties that best suit the soil and climatic conditions in Sierra Leon will be selected.

After that, a group of first 20 Vietnamese farmers in the Mekong river delta will be scheduled to fly to Sierra Leon to perform rice cultivation and provide growing techniques to Sierra Leon farmers.

The model will then be multiplied on a large scale in this eastern African country under a programme in which one Vietnamese farmer will train four Sierra Leon farmers how to grow Vietnamese rice. Under this programme, many more farmers in the Mekong river delta will be arriving in Sierra Leon.

This can be considered as a new method to bring Vietnamese rice to Africa and at the same time a special opportunity to export labourers.

In 2006, Sierra Leon Minister of Agriculture met Professor, Dr Vo Tong Xuan in Beijing, China and asked for Vietnamese co-operation and support in agricultural development in his country.

Later he was invited to visit Vietnam and brought home ten varieties of Vietnamese rice. These varieties were grown by Sierra Leon agricultural experts on a trial basis. However, they produced low productivity of only around 3 tonnes on a hectare, much lower compared to the Vietnamese rice productivity. Thus, Sierra Leon wished to change the co-operation method by inviting Vietnamese agricultural experts and farmers to Sierra Leon to provide direct guidance on cultivation techniques.

The Sierra Leon minister was of the view that the cultivation techniques by farmers in Vietnam would suite with the conditions in his country.

Earlier, Sierra Leon used to ask for technical support from western experts with high pay. However, these techniques seemed unsuitable for Sierra Leon’s conditions.

Initial investigation has shown that Sierra Leon’s soil is infertile, the climatic conditions are quite similar to those in Vietnam and cultivation method is still rudimentary. Agricultural experts and farmers from the Mekong river delta are quite capable of helping this western African country in agricultural development.

Sierra Leon Vice President Solomon Berewa has also met Professor Xuan and expressed his full support for this co-operation programme.

Sierra Leon is a small country with a population of 5 million people. Each year, the country consumes around 600,000 tonnes of rice, 60% of this amount has to be imported.
MGR Archive 23.8.2007
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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