Quang BinhSeeing that Hac Hai lagoon is flooded all year round and abandoned, many people come here to swim and build dikes, renovating it into rice and shrimp fields.
In the last days of May, the rice fields stretching in Hac Hai lagoon area gradually turn green to yellow, promising a bountiful harvest. Hac Hai Lagoon is 12 square kilometers wide, belonging to two districts of Le Thuy and Quang Ninh, which is a flooded area about 1.5 to 3 meters deep. Winding in the middle of a large lagoon is the gentle Kien Giang River.
Taking guests out to visit the rice fields, Mr. Nguyen Cong Xuan (49 years old, residing in Hoa Thuy commune, Le Thuy district) introduced the field here surrounded by Hac Hai lagoon.
20 years ago, Hac Hai lagoon was deserted, only a few households practiced fishing here. Around 2000, Mr. Xuan and his wife came here to set up a duck farm. Mr. Xuan imported 1,000 gourd ducks in Da Nang city to raise eggs. “At first, everyone laughed because they said ducks couldn’t lay in this land,” recalls Xuan.
But the ducks lay 700 to 800 eggs each night. To have more food for ducks, Mr. Xuan experimented with growing rice varieties in flooded areas. This is a low-yielding rice variety that tolerates brackish water and has red rice grains. When the rice plants flowered and produced seeds, he drove the ducks to the middle of the field to feed the ducks with the seeds.
Seeing that rice plants could grow in this land, he came up with the idea to turn the flooded lagoon into rice fields. Immersed in the mud, Xuan used a spade to scoop up each bucket of mud to build a dike. “I carried each big lump of mud to the shore, waited for it to dry into a dyke, and then built it again, I don’t know how much effort,” said Xuan.
Being alone is not enough, he hires more workers, paying 20,000 VND per meter. When the soil has enough firmness and connection, Mr. Xuan plants grass to make the dike more stable. The embankment construction lasted month after month during the summer, for 4 consecutive years the dyke was strong enough. Every year, the dyke has to be built up, but about 15 years ago, the excavator was brought to the field, so human power was gradually released.
Since 2003, having acquired the dike system, Mr. Xuan changed from rice for ducks to rice for human consumption, yielding 65-70 quintals per hectare. Rice fields here each year for two harvests, including the main winter-spring crop lasting more than three months, and the summer-autumn crop, which is the rice plant that regenerates itself on the stubble of the old crop, lasting two months. From September of this year to January of next year, the entire Hac Hai lagoon is covered with immense, white water. Flood water brings silt, shrimp and fish back to the fields.
“When I was a new commune, I was punished for arbitrarily zoning, but after 2-3 years, I was rewarded again, giving priority to the fish farming model, encouraging irrigation fees,” said Xuan, and said the family has reclaimed land for 6 years. , 5 ha of lagoon, of which 5 ha of rice fields, 1.5 ha of shrimp and fish farming. Running inside the fields is a deep moat formed by scooping up mud to fill the dike, and Mr. Xuan released more fish and shrimp. The field has both rice and aquatic products, giving higher income than conventional fields, with a profit of 50 to 60 million VND per hectare.
However, in many years, floods suddenly came back over the dike and flooded the rice fields, driving away all fish and shrimp. “To farm in this area, you have to lose without getting bored, lose without being discouraged, learn from failure to boldly invest to succeed,” concluded Mr. Xuan.
Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Anh (44 years old, living in Hong Thuy commune, Le Thuy district) is also one of the pioneers who went out to reclaim Hac Hai lagoon, from raising ducks and gradually building dikes to build rice fields. “Built a small square dune with 6 gold threads, the money to build a dike is like a mountain,” Anh said.
He and the workers dived above their heads, using spades to scoop up each lump of mud to build the embankment. Every year it is reinforced to compensate for the part of the dyke that is eroded by floods. Thanks to not being discouraged, he and some relatives now have 15 hectares of rice and shrimp in this area.
At the beginning of this winter-spring crop, in addition to growing rice, Anh also released 250,000 more giant freshwater prawns, along with snakeheads, necks, sesame, and tilapia… in the fields. “This year’s crop was unlucky, unusual floods in early April flooded the fields, pulling all the fish and shrimp away,” Anh sighed.
Following the model of Mr. Xuan and Mr. Anh, hundreds of households in the communes around Hac Hai lagoon such as Hoa Thuy, An Thuy, Hong Thuy (Le Thuy district) and Gia Ninh and Van Ninh (Quang Ninh district) went to this area to build up dike, turning the wild lagoon into rice fields and shrimp squares. The dyke of one household follows the other, extending along the banks of the Kien Giang river so that most of Hac Hai lagoon becomes a rice field.
Mr. Vo Xuan Hoa, Chairman of Hoa Thuy Commune People’s Committee, said that the commune has 82 households reclaiming 171 hectares of rice in Hac Hai lagoon. “People spend a lot of money to turn the flooded area into a crop field combined with fish and shrimp farming. This not only increases income for the people, but also contributes to improving the commune’s economy,” said Mr. Hoa.
The chairman of Hoa Thuy commune also said that this land was flooded with erratic rains, so there were also five people with nothing. “It takes a lot of will to stay out of the lagoon,” said Mr. Hoa.
Currently, in order to create sustainable income for people, Quang Binh province is calling for investment in Hac Hai lagoon tourist area, turning it into an eco-tourism area in the lagoon, providing dining and resting services. , entertainment combined with learning about life, getting acquainted with how to grow rice, cultivate and catch aquatic products.
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