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July 08, 2008

Vietnamese experts to assist with rice growing in Sierra Leone

After achieving success with a farming programme in Sierra Leone, Vietnamese agronomists plan to train African farmers in cultivation techniques to grow a strain of Vietnamese rice.

Vo Tong Xuan, rector of An Giang University, and several agronomists are now in Nigeria and Ghana for a feasibility survey to expand rice cultivation across Africa.

The effort is being done at the request of a company from England, which asked the Vietnamese scientists to research the situation in the two countries after learning about the programme in Sierra Leone that began 10 months ago.

With the cultivation of Vietnamese rice, yields doubled or tripled compared with native strains in Sierra Leone.

Professor Vo Tong Xuan said although there were no ploughing machines the group had successfully cultivated two crops a year. Productivity was more than four tonnes a hectare compared to the previous one tonne per ha. Xuan added that the agronomists were storing three tonnes of seed rice for sowing on land, which is similar to the soil in Viet Nam’s Mekong Delta region.

A group of farmers in the Mekong Delta will be invited to Africa to train local farmers in irrigation and cultivation techniques.

Each Vietnamese farmer will be assigned to help four local farmers who will cultivate rice on five hectares of paddy.

The programme aims to help countries in Africa overcome food shortages.

Vietnam News Service

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