Rice crops will be reduced by about 4,000ha in central and Central Highlands regions due to drought risks during the summer-autumn rice crop, under an order from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry.

Farmers in the region are asked to grow beans, cassava, maize, peanuts and sugar cane instead of rice, said Nguyen Van Hoa, deputy head of the ministry’s Cultivation Department.

The water in most reservoirs in South-Central coastal provinces has decreased by 60-70 percent, he said. Moreover, saltwater has penetrated the lowlands, posing a threat to pumping stations.

The summer-autumn rice crop, the main crop in these provinces, often lasts from April to September, which is also a time of prolonged hot weather, according to Hoa. Therefore, localities have to make careful calculations to ensure the crops have enough water.

An estimated 368,000ha of summer-autumn rice have been planted in the Central and Central Highlands regions, he said.

“Localities should give local farmers detailed instructions to help them minimise losses, such as growing short-term rice rather than long-term rice to save water and fertilizer,” said Deputy Minister Bui Ba Bong.

Nguyen Huu Vui, deputy director of Binh Dinh province’ Agriculture and Rural Development said that because the province only has enough water for 31,500 of its 49,000ha of cultivation land, the locality would grow drought tolerant crops on about 10,000ha.-VNA