Agriculture faces mounting difficulties, drought

Thousands of hectares of rice, industrial crops and aquaculture are at risk of falling output, and even lost crops, due to increasing droughts, disease and salt contamination.
Thousands of hectares of rice, industrial crops and aquaculture are at risk of falling output, and even lost crops, due to increasing droughts, disease and salt contamination.

According to reports by the Cultivation Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, since the end of January, it has rarely rained in the coastal areas of the south central provinces and the Central Highlands .

The water levels of regional rivers are steadily declining, leading to extreme droughts in numerous areas where rice is planted, with the most affected provinces being Gia Lai, Dac Nong and Quang Nam.

At present, about 10,000 ha of coffee trees in the Central Highlands lack water and the affected acreage is forecast to expand, as there is no sign the situation will improve.

The state of affairs has become complicated in some northern provinces , especially in Ha Giang, where there was no rain for the past eight months. Up to 400 ha of rice was damaged by droughts and over 1,000 ha of land for rice growing has been rendered unsuitable for cultivation. The province can grow winter-spring rice crops to meet only 60-80 percent of its plan.

Moreover, farmers in the central and northern regions are faced with diseases afflicting rice on a large scale. According to the Plant Protection Department, the grassy stunt and stripe viruses have hit 25 provinces in the two regions.

Meanwhile, some southern provinces, especially Ben Tre, Tien Giang and Bac Lieu are affected by salt contamination, causing a shortage of fresh water and seriously affecting cultivation, husbandry and daily life.

According to the hydro-meteorologic agency, the droughts will last longer as the rainy season will come one month later than usual and with lower-than-average rainfall.

Reservoirs across the country have been at about 50 percent capacity, particularly Dong Mo lake in Hanoi , which has a water level of only 14 percent.

To cope with the situation, the agricultural sector has urged farmers to raise breeds of animals and strains of plants that can live through long-lasting droughts and asked localities to manage their water resources carefully./.

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