Salinity intrusion threatens quarter of Mekong Delta orchards

By Dang Khoa   September 17, 2020 | 12:48 am PT
Salinity intrusion threatens quarter of Mekong Delta orchards
A durian orchard in Tien Giang Province in the Mekong Delta is dying due to drought and salinity intrusion, July 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Hoang Nam.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has warned that nearly a quarter of Mekong Delta orchard area could suffer from saltwater intrusion.

The ministry stated Thursday at a conference around 80,550 ha or 23.2 percent of Mekong Delta orchards for the 2020-2021 harvest season would be impacted.

The Mekong Delta is the biggest fruit-producing region in the country. Its orchard area spans 362,000 hectares, accounting for 34 percent of Vietnam's total orchards and for 58 percent of the southern region's. However, it was the region impacted the most by salinity intrusion over recent years.

During the 2019-2020 harvest season, salinity affected roughly 25,120 ha of orchards, impacting durian, coconut, pomelo, lime, and rambutan farmers, officials said at the conference hosted in the delta's Tien Giang Province.

This year, saltwater intruded 50-110 km into major rivers across the delta, even deeper than in 2016.

The lack of freshwater lasted more than six months, leaving 80,000 families high and dry, and damaged 43,000 ha of paddy.

Experts have blamed El Nino and Chinese dams on the Mekong for parching the delta.

Six provinces, Ben Tre, Ca Mau, Kien Giang, Long An, Soc Trang, and Tien Giang have declared a saline emergency this season.

$140 million project to fight saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta's Kien Giang Province. Video by Huy Phong, Thanh Huyen.

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