Vietnam pays ever-increasing price for climate change

By    April 26, 2016 | 08:00 am PT
Severe drought and salinity have destroyed around 1 million tons of rice crops so far this year, according to the Ministry of Agricultue, which clearly proves climate change is taking a heavy toll on Vietnam.

Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat estimated that the summer-autumn rice crop is likely to suffer the same fate, and Vietnam will lose an additional 400,000 tons this year.

“Soldiers are helping farmers to water their pepper plantations in Gia Lai, but a large area of pepper in Binh Phuoc has withered and died,” said Minister Phat.

He went on to point out that El Nino has left about 150,000 families in the Mekong Delta lacking water, and locally stationed naval forces have had to step in to buy clean water and deliver it to local people for free.

The impacts of climate change on Vietnam have hit faster than previously expected, said Tran Hong Ha, minister of Natural Resources and Environment. He also admitted that Vietnam, due to its limited capacity, has been unable to come up with effective measures to combat climate change. For instance, no government agency has been held accountable for managing water resources needed for agricultural production.


Chairman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha in a meeting on Monday. Photo by Hoang Long/VGP

We urgently need to adapt to climate change, said Nguyen Thien Nhan, chairman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee, during meetings with senior officials from the two ministries on Monday.

He added that the agricultural sector, in the first quarter of this year, experienced negative growth for the first time in at least a decade.

Vietnam has to get ready to live with climate change and prepare for inevitable changes, he highlighted.

Chairman Nguyen Thien Nhan suggested a series of solutions including forest protection, sustainable agricultural development and effective water management to cope with the problem.

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