Many areas in Indonesia suffer long droughts. (Source: Internet)

Hanoi (VNA) – El Nino is taking its toll on the agricultural sector, especially rice production, in Southeast Asian countries.

Thailand’s Irrigation Department has recently asked 22 provinces in the basin of Cho Phraya river to stop supplying water to off-season rice areas in order to minimise effects of the country’s most severe drought in many decades.

The new crop, which often begins in June or July, had to be delayed to August due to the severe shortage of water and the delay can cost farmers in the central region 1.8 billion USD.

In Indonesia, downpour rains came after long droughts caused by El Nino, submerging many areas in the country, sweeping away houses and causing heavy damage to agricultural production.

In the Philippines, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has just submitted to the President a plan to buy 1.5 million tonnes of rice in the first quarter of 2016 to ensure the supply and keep prices stable in the context of long drought.

In Vietnam, the Economic and Forecast news website under the Ministry of Planning and Investment said Vietnam’s rice export is expected to benefit from the fact that El Nino significantly reduced the rice output in Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines.

However, Le Anh Tuan, Deputy Director of the Climate Change Research Institute of the Can Tho University, said farmers in the Mekong Delta also suffered from droughts this year. The institute’s surveys showed the region may lose from 30 to 40 percent of their rice output.-VNA