Drought takes heavy toll on crops in central, Central Highlands region hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)

Binh Thuan (VNA) – Nearly 42,000 hectares of crops in the south-central coastal and Central Highland provinces have been damaged due to the ongoing severe drought.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development reviewed cultivation in the regions in the winter-spring crop between 2015 and 2016, on March 17.

Since early 2016, the El Nino phenomenon has caused a large-scale heat spell with the average rainfall dropping by about 15-30 percent. Some provinces like Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan and Khanh Hoa are facing acute water shortages.

It is forecast that the prolonged drought could affect nearly 140,000 hectares of crops soon.

Vice Chairman of the Binh Thuan provincial People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Hoa said the severe drought is raging through some areas in Ham Tan, Duc Linh, Tuy Phong, and Bac Binh districts.

In the 2015-2016 winter-spring crop, the province could only arrange sufficient water for 18,700 hectares of rice. As of March 7 this year, 1,400 hectares of crops were damaged due to severe drought.

It is worrisome that some water supply facilities in Ham Tan and Tanh Linh districts stop operation due to a lack of water. It is estimated that about 90,000 households across the province are facing water shortages.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh said drought is forecast to hit south-central coastal and Central Highland provinces in the 2016 summer-autumn crop.

He called on localities to proactively take measures to reduce the impacts of this extreme weather pattern.

He suggested devising a plan to use water resources properly, prioritising local daily activities, cattle, and highly-economic crops, as well as shifting rice cultivation to other more drought-resistant crops.

At the same time, it is necessary to enhance water-saving measures and accelerate the construction of irrigation facilities, especially improving canal systems in areas prone to drought, he added.-VNA