Farmers in the Cuu Long ( Mekong ) Delta have had a high yield for the summer-autumn rice crop, and the price of rice has increased as well.

Nguyen Minh Tam in Tien Giang province's Cai Be district has harvested six tonnes of paddy IR 50404 from 0.8ha of rice and sold them at a price of 4,950 VND a kilo. He earned a profit of 15.2 million VND (725 USD).

"Farmers here are happy about the current prices," he said.

Trader Ho Van Hai in Cai Be district said he has never seen the price of the summer-autumn rice crop increase as strongly at the crop-end as it has this year.

A month ago, the price of normal-quality paddy was about 4,000-4,300 VND a kilo, he said, adding that in some areas the price was 3,800-3,900 VND a kilo.

Traders attributed the price hikes to an increase in Vietnam ’s rice exports.

However, many farmers did not benefit from the price increase because they had harvested their paddy and sold them before the price hikes.

Nguyen Van Boi in Cai Lay district's Phu Nhuan commune in Tien Giang said: "Half of a month ago, many farmers and I harvested paddy and sold fresh paddy at the fields."

Farmers in the Mekong Delta have harvested more than 1.5 million hectares of summer-autumn rice crop with an average yield of 6 tonnes per ha as of last weekend, according to the Southern Plant Protection Centre.

The remaining 320,000ha of the crop are in the blooming stage or have milk-stage grains, mostly in An Giang, Dong Thap, Kien Giang and Tien Giang provinces.

The delta's flood waters are rising and threatening the remaining summer-autumn rice in flood-prone areas, according to the centre. Rice blast disease and rice leaf blight, among other diseases, have infected more than 3,200ha of summer-autumn rice.

Ho Van Chien, director of the centre, said to protect nearly ripe summer-autumn rice from floods, farmers should consider harvesting them early.

Next year, farmers in flood-prone areas should not plant the autumn-winter rice crop in areas where there is no protection dyke, he said.

The delta farmers have seeded more than 626,300ha of the autumn-winter rice, as of last weekend.

Dong Thap, one of the delta's most flooded provinces during the flooding season, has about 3,000ha of nearly ripe summer-autumn rice, which have not been harvested and 30,000ha of newly planted autumn-winter rice.

A large area of the province's rice is estimated to be flooded when flood waters rise high.

This year, the delta's flood season caused by the rising levels of the Mekong River is estimated to reach its peak in the first 10 days of October, according to the Dong Thap Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

Nguyen Van Duong, Chairman of the Dong Thap People's Committee, has ordered departments and district authorities to consolidate dykes and encourage farmers to finish harvesting the summer-autumn rice crop before the flood waters rise.

Last month, flood water broke a 20-meter dyke section in Hong Ngu district's Thuong Phuoc 1 commune, destroying 78ha of summer-autumn rice and causing an output decline of 50 percent for 61ha of summer-autumn rice.

In Long An Province, farmers in Tan Hung, Vinh Hung and Tan Thanh districts have had to harvest nearly 1,000ha of summer-autumn rice seven to 30 days earlier than scheduled to avoid floods.

Long An farmers have also planted 14,851ha of autumn-winter rice crop. Of the figure, 90 percent are planted in dyke-protection areas.

In Tien Gang province's western districts, farmers have nearly completed harvesting the summer-autumn rice crop.-VNA