Drought causes around 50,000 hectares of farmland to sit unplanted

Around 50,000 hectares of farmland will have to sit unplanted and more than 31,000 households in South Central Coast and Central Highlands of Vietnam will face a shortage of water due to drought in the upcoming summer-autumn crop.

According to the Department of Cultivation, since early 2016, El Nino phenomenon has caused dry spell to cast early and widely and rainfall to reduce by 15-30 percent. Without rains, Binh Thuan, Ninh Thuan, and Khanh Hoa provinces are suffering severe drought. The total area of 177,000 hectares of winter-spring crops was affected. Of which, yield of more than 22,000 hectares of rice was lowered because of drought. Moreover, a large area of rice was completely lost.

The representative of the regional hydrometeorology said that El Nino phenomenon will have unforeseen developments from now to the end of this year. The region’s average temperature will increase by 0.3-0.7 Celsius degree and precipitation will fall by 30-50 percent by June this year.

Mr. Nguyen Van Tinh, deputy head of the General Department of Irrigation, said that water levels at many irrigational and hydroelectric reservoirs were low and were expected to drop further in the near future.

Nguyen Van Hoa, deputy head of the Department of Cultivation, said that drought-hit provinces should make plans for the summer-autumn crop in order to prevent and reduce loss. Provinces which may face a shortage of water should reschedule cultivation plan, switch to more suitable crop plants, and apply water-saving watering methods.

Agriculture deputy minister Le Quoc Doanh emphasized that provinces should check crop plant variety, apply advanced technology, flexibly cut down cultivated area, and shift to suitable crop plants. In addition, local authorities should inform farmers about the weather, drought, and hydropower plants’ water release schedules. At the same time, local provinces should make plan to save water, promote construction of irrigational work. In the long term, they should check water conservation and cultivation projects, grow and protect forests, and foster progress of anti-drought projects so as to adapt to severe weather conditions.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on March 17 held a meeting in association with the People’s Committee of Binh Thuan Province to make a preliminary wrap-up report of the winter-spring crop and plan for the summer-autumn crop for provinces in South Central Coast and Central
Highlands of Vietnam.

By Nguyen Tien – Translated by Thuy Doan

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