Mekong farmers make profit from climate change

By Vietnam+, Bui Hong Nhung   March 28, 2016 | 04:56 pm GMT+7

Farmers in Ca Mau province profit from adaptation to severe Mekong drought.

Prolonged drought in the Mekong Delta has led rice farmers in Tran Van Thoi district, Ca Mau province to switch to green beans or intercrop the two. Some even took advantage of dry fields by sowing seeds into cracks of land and gained the same productivity, said Nguyen Van Tranh, deputy director of Ca Mau’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Over 1,000 hectares of green beans have yielded 2.5 to three tons of beans per hectare. With beans prices at more than five times rice prices, farmers are earning at least VND75 million ($3,400) per hectare of green beans. 

According to Tranh, short rainy season and prolonged drought are good conditions for growing bean crops."Farmers that were quick to switch after hearing the drought forecast have enjoyed high yields. This is the most successful green bean season to date," added Tranh. 

The price for a kilogram of beans ranges from VND30,000 ($1.4) to VND32,000, higher than rice prices at VND4,500/kg to VND6,500/kg. Due to the El Nino weather pattern, the area is suffering from crippling drought and a rising tide of salinity that is decimating crops and severely affecting local communities.

More than 140,000 hectares of rice fields have been razed and about 150,000 families are lacking clean water at present, according to calculations by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.