Illustrative image (Source: thoidai.com.vn)

Ca Mau (VNA) - Farmers in the Mekong Delta are struggling to resume agricultural production because of the lingering effects of the recent drought and saltwater intrusion and a shortage of funds and seeds. 

Affected farmers in Ca Mau are unable to get financial support from local authorities since the Ministry of Finance requires them to furnish crop records they had submitted to the local government. 

However, during the cultivation process, household farmers just do not have the habit of reporting on their crops. 

Thus, none of the affected shrimp farmers in the province have managed to get subsidies from the government after the disaster. 

Chau Van Ut, a farmer in the province’s Tran Van Thoi district, who has a 1.3 hectare shrimp farm, lost 200 million VND (9,000 USD) due to the drought. 

While he is happy to know that the local administration is helping affected farmers resume production, he is worried because he does not have documents to prove his loss and hopes the authorities will help with funds, seeds and technology. 

Duy Quoc Tuan, head of the district’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the biggest problem was that farmers did not declare their crop situation and so could not prove their losses. 

Tran Van Thoi district has 15,690ha of aquaculture ponds of which 14,500ha farmed by 10,644 households are thought to be affected. 

Nguyen Van Tuoc, a farmer in U Minh district’s Nguyen Phich commune, said his family suffered severe losses after planting paddy in its shrimp farm, but has not received any support from local authorities. 

Not only paddy farmers but also shrimp farmers face the same situation. No household has received compensation though the local government has declared a level-two disaster. 

Around 18,000ha out of the 53,000ha of shrimp ponds suffered losses of over 70 percent and the expected subsidy is 260 billion VND (11.8 million USD). 

In Bac Lieu, the People’s Committee has decided to add 24 billion VND (1.1 million USD) drawn from the central and local budgets to support farmers whose paddy and shrimp farms were affected by the drought and salinity. 

However, here too the government faces a hurdle in the form of the ministry stipulation on documents. 

Without money, seedlings affected by the salinity have caused farmers much distress in the delta. 

Nguyen Van Ut, a farmer in Ben Tre province’s Chau Thanh district, said drought and saltwater intrusion had exhausted farmers, but authorities were insisting they should resume farming. 

In Go Cong and Tan Phu Dong Islet in Tien Giang province, hundreds of hectares of paddies could not be sowed and farmers had to try a second time. 

Farmers owning more than 5,000ha have decided to skip the summer-autumn crop. 

Reviving fruit orchards is not a simple task. In Ben Tre, despite their best efforts, experts and farmers have been unable to save certain kinds of trees from the salinity. 

The farmers have had to cut them down and plant new ones. 

The Mekong Delta suffered losses of more than 4.7 trillion VND (215 million USD) from the twin disasters, according to the Southwestern Region Steering Committee. 

More than 221,000ha of rice, 6,500ha of vegetables, and 26,500ha of fruits and commercial crops have been affected, with 128,205ha of paddy completely destroyed. 

The country’s rice export dropped in the first half of this year, which was estimated at 2.69 million tonnes worth 1.21 million USD, down 9.8 percent in volume and 5.9 percent in value year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.-VNA