(Illustrative Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– Impacts of the El Nino phenomenon do not shrivel Vietnam’s this year rice production which is estimated at about 45.2 million tonnes, 230,000 tonnes higher than the yearly target.

It was heard at a conference to review performance of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) in 2015 in Hanoi on December 24.

Around 50,000 hectares of land for rice cultivation in the central region were hit by severe droughts this year, of which 10,000 hectares had to be shifted to more drought-resistant crops, Ma Quang Trung, head of the ministry’s Cultivation Department, said.

Meanwhile, more than 9,000 rice hectares in southern provinces have been seriously affected by saltwater intrusion, he added.

Yet average output rose by 0.1 percent to 57.7 quintals per hectare, making up for the damaged areas.

The increase was attributed to timely weather forecasts and accurate analysis of the situation from the ministry.

In addition, maize output surged by 378,000 tonnes to 50.54 million tonnes this year.

The ministry also reported the country has earned 82.5 million VND (3,661 USD) per hectare of cultivable land, up 3.8 million VND from 2014.

It plans to turn more rice-growing areas to maize farming areas in response to climate change.

According to the National Hydro-Meteorological Service, the El Nino pattern in 2015 and 2016 will be as serious as the record pattern, 1997 to 1998, but it will be longer and cover a wider area.

The rainy season began later and will end earlier than in previous years. Rainfall is also predicted to be much lower than average.-VNA