Vinh Long wants $33 million from state budget to help combat drought and salinity

By Toan Dao   June 12, 2016 | 09:07 am GMT+7

Vinh Long has asked the central government to provide it VND751 billion ($33.2 million) to help fight the prolonged drought and salinity in the southern province.

The funding will be used to build irrigational projects in the Mekong Delta province, the government portal said in a statement on Saturday while reporting a meeting between Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Vinh Long government officials.

Turbulent weather, caused by El Nino, has buffeted the Mekong Delta since the end of 2014, taking a heavy toll on rice production. The Delta contributes around 55 percent of Vietnam’s rice output. As of March 14 this year, nine out of 13 provinces or nearly 40 percent of the delta area were affected by the historic drought and salinity, government data has shown.

“The province has lost about 100,000 hectares of agricultural land. We do not allow it to get worse,” Phuc said. He also asked the province to get ready to deal with even stronger El Nino in the coming time and pay attention to restructuring the agriculture sector to adapt to climate change.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the meeting with Vinh Long officials. Photo by VGP/Quang Hieu

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the meeting with Vinh Long officials. Photo by VGP/Quang Hieu

Vinh Long is estimated to achieve Gross Regional Domestic Product growth of 4.14 percent in the first half of this year, much lower than the expected 7.2 percent due to the drought and salinity. The combined value of agriculture, forestry and fishery production during January-June is expected to decline by 3.97 percent year on year. The rice output in the province is estimated to fall 10.6 percent from a year earlier, the provincial officials told the prime minister.

Vinh Long is located at the center of the Mekong Delta, more than 100 kilometers away from the nearest coast.

Former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in March ordered relevant authorities to urgently allocate VND139 billion to the nine affected provinces.

In May, Japan and EU have pledged a $2.5 million and $100,000 grants respectively, to help Vietnam deal with the drought and salinity.

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