Mekong Delta loses $210 million to drought and salinity

By Bernama   June 27, 2016 | 08:10 pm PT
Vietnam's Mekong Delta has suffered losses worth more than VND4.7 trillion ($210 million) due to the severe and prolonged drought and saltwater intrusion during dry season, Malaysian National News Agency Bernama cited the Southwest Region Steering Committee as saying.

More than 221,000 hectares of rice, 6,500 hectares of vegetables and 26,500 hectares of fruits and industrial trees were affected, said the committee.

Paddy grown on 128,205 hectares was also completely destroyed.

The drought and saltwater intrusion also caused a freshwater shortage for 225,000 households in the coastal provinces of Ben Tre, Soc Trang and Kien Giang.

Rains have now arrived in the delta and farmers are growing new vegetable crops, sowing the autumn-winter rice crop and farming shrimp again.

Farmers are set to grow only 860,000 hectares of rice in the autumn-winter crop, down from the original plan of 900,300 hectares, according to the Plant Cultivation Department.

This is due to the decline in rice prices and unfavorable export conditions, according to the department.

At the same time, it is now the peak harvest season for the summer-autumn rice, but with unusually heavy rains and winds battering paddies and affecting the quality of the grain, farmers have difficulty finding buyers.

In Hau Giang, Kien Giang, Vinh Long and An Giang provinces, heavy rains and strong wings have flattened thousands of hectares of paddies.

Farmers whose fields were affected are likely to earn only around VND10 million per hectare, down by nearly half compared to those not affected, according to local agriculture authorities.

Farmers are having to harvest flattened fields by hand since machines cannot be used on them, and traders are reluctant to buy from such fields.

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