Restructuring agriculture to adapt to climate change hinh anh 1A fish farm in Thanh Dien commune, Chau Thanh district, Tay Ninh province (Source: VNA)

Can Tho (VNA) – The Mekong Delta region has been restructuring agricultural production in order to adapt to the increasingly severe impacts of climate change.

Over the past several years, regional localities have combined shrimp farming with rice cultivation, while replacing one of the three rice crops per year with other plants.

Salt-tolerant rice varieties, including OM6976, OM677 and OM 5464 have been developed and grown in localities with saline intrusion, such as Soc Trang, Ben Tre, Kien Giang and Bac Lieu.

The Mekong Delta region will revise land use planning for rice production towards growing high-quality rice for export and responding better to climate change, according to the climate change response plan for 2016-2020, with a vision to 2050.

Agricultural production will also be combined with livestock, aquaculture, tourism and forestation.

The region will foster the research of new high-yield plant varieties and restructuring crops in line with local conditions.

Under the plan, the agricultural sector will continue expanding effective cultivation methods, strengthening the application of technology and developing large-scale fields, according to Tran Van The from the Institute for Agricultural Environment under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Technical assistance will be provided to improve land quality and enhance the effectiveness of chemical fertilisers in a bid to reduce gas emissions.

The sector will also focus on collecting, treating and recycling agricultural waste to reduce environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

The livestock sector will develop and import high-yield and climate change-adaptive livestock strains as well as improve aquaculture techniques to better adapt to climate change.

Tran Huu Hiep from the Southwestern Region Steering Committee said the region should zone off areas for specific crops in a bid to ensure market-relevant and large-scale production while improving product quality.

Hiep suggested the localities in the region facilitate the connection between enterprises and farmers to enhance agricultural production value and improve rice farmers’ incomes.

Focus should be put on developing high-quality , high-yield strains of plants and animals to raise productivity and product quality, Hiep said, suggesting that latest t echnology be introduced in production, harvest, preservation, processing and logistic s.

The Mekong Delta has more than 3.8 million hectares of agricultural land, and the area for rice farming accounts for roughly half of it, ranging between 1.6-1.8 million hectares.

The region makes up nearly 50 percent of the nation’s rice growing area, more than 70 percent of area for aquaculture, producing 40 percent of total agricultural production value, and more than 50 percent of aquatic product output.

A climate change scenario shows that 90 percent of the agricultural land in the Mekong Delta is vulnerable to flooding, and 70 percent to saline intrusion.

Rice productivity is projected to fall by 50 percent by 2100 due to increasing floods and saline intrusion.-VNA