A rice field is abandoned due to water shortages (Photo: VNA)

Tra Vinh (VNA) – Long-lasting drought and saltwater intrusion over the past month have worried farmers in the Mekong Delta provinces of Tra Vinh and Ca Mau.

The extreme weather has withered over 66,500 hectares of rice in Tra Vinh province. Tra Cu, Chau Thanh, Duyen Hai and Tieu Can districts saw the most damage.

According to the local hydro-meteorological station, increasing saltwater levels in the Tien and Hau rivers have encroached into over 60 kilometres of irrigation canals.

Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Deputy Director Doan Tan Trieu said the most effective solution at present is quickly dredging over 14,600 metres of canals to increase water levels for the rice fields.

Meanwhile, the water shortage has also hurt thousands hectares of rice in Ca Mau province. Rising sea levels have caused severe salt intrusion, particularly in coastal areas.

The drought and saline encroachment have so far destroyed over 20,000 out of 35,000 hectares of rice in the region. The districts hit hardest were U Minh, Tran Van Thoi and Thoi Binh.

According to the local hydro-meteorological centre, the effects of El Nino will continue over the next several months.

Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Deputy Director Nguyen Van Tranh said the department asked the People’s Committee consider the level of damage to provide proper support for the farmers.-VNA