Impacts from the El Nino phenomenon have caused heavy damage to rice fields in Ca Mau province. (Source: dwrm.gov.vn)

Ca Mau (VNA) – Impacts from the El Nino phenomenon have caused heavy damage to around 20,000 hectares of rice in the southernmost province of Ca Mau, according to the provincial agricultural agency.

The Ca Mau plant protection section said the affected rice area is mainly located in U Minh, Tran Van Thoi and Thoi Binh districts and the initial loss is estimated at 15 billion VND (667,000 USD).

According to the section, the rainy season arrived later than previous years and the total rainfall in the province was around 20 percent lower than the average of recent years, leading to a shortage of fresh water and high salinity, wiping out many rice fields.

The provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development advised farmers to act quickly and switch to raising shrimp in the lost rice area before the Lunar New Year.

Around 7,000 hectares of short-term rice varieties in Ca Mau can be harvested in January, 2016 but the productivity could reduce significantly with a maximum of 3.5 to 4 tonnes per hectare.

Nguyen Tran Thuc, Head of the Division, said according to weather predictions, El Nino will continue into 2016, leading to unfavourable conditions for rice farming.-VNA