Farmers speed up rice cultivation to avoid saltwater intrusion, drought

It is forecast that saltwater intrusion and drought will be early and develop complicatedly so the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development ordered coastal provinces, including Kien Giang, Tra Vinh, Ben Tre, Bac Lieu, Tien Giang and Soc Trang to grow rice earlier.
On December 1, the Department of Crop Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that provinces in the Mekong Delta have entered peak time of cultivation of more than 1.55 million hectares of winter-spring rice crop with estimated rice production at 10.7 million tons.

Farmers in the Mekong Delta basically finished first and second stages of rice cultivation with 1-1.2 million hectares. At the present, they have been rushing to grow rice for the third stage from now to the end of December on the remaining area. 

According to calculation, among 937,000 hectares of winter-spring rice areas at coastal provinces, more than 55,000 hectares of rice might be threatened by saltwater intrusion and drought. The Department of Crop Production recommended farmers to choose fast ripening rice varieties, sow seeds early and closely watch the development of saltwater intrusion and drought in order to tackle problems in time.

The Directorate of Water Resources also notified that as flood peak was low this year, saltwater intrusion is expected to be 1-2 months sooner than previous years. It is forecast that salinity of 4 grams per liter will intrude inland by 20-30 kilometers from November to December this year and by 40-67 kilometer from January to February next year, about 15 kilometers higher than the average level of several years. This will affect greatly water intake capacity of irrigation works. By March next year, depending on the amount of water adjusted from reservoirs at the upper reach of the Mekong River, saltwater intrusion might ease.

By Nguyen Thanh – Translated by Thuy Doan

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