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HCM City (VNA) - Abnormal weather late last year and earlier this year has caused losses for farmers in the southern provinces of Dong Nai and Binh Phuoc.

In Dong Nai province, many kinds of perennial and fruit trees died due to prolonged and heavy rains during the dry season. Productivity has just reached 30 percent as compared to last year’s crops.

Nguyen Thi Kim Mai, a farmer in Phu Ngoc commune in Dinh Quan district, said “the mango trees could not be fruit-bearing because the unseasonal rains made fungus attack the flowers”.

Mai’s family is growing 14ha of mango and 10 ha of cashew. In previous years, her family harvested about 200 tonnes of mangoes, which brought a profit of hundreds of million VND per year along with 500 million VND profit from cashew.

However, since late last year, the abnormal weather has caused her family’s mango and cashew yields to dramatically decrease.

Pepper growers have also suffered similar losses, with hundreds of hectares of pepper destroyed and many households pushed to bankruptcy.

Tran Van Hoanh, a pepper grower in Song Ray commune of Cam My district, said his family has 10,000sq.m of pepper that usually yields 5 tonnes and a profit of 600 million VND annually.

But since earlier this year, the unseasonal heavy rains destroyed 70 percent of the total trees.

“Many working hours of my family members and money lent from banks were washed away”, he said.

According to the farmer, pepper is considered a “gold” tree, but it needs a big investment.

Growing one hectare of pepper costs 600-800 million VND. The tree just bears the beans after 4 years, said Hoanh.

“My family will lend more from banks for re-growing. But I am not sure about the weather”, he said.

“The weather is developing unusually, and I am worried about diseases to the trees. And the farmers cannot deal by themselves”, he said.

According to Dong Nai province’s Cultivation and Plant Protection Department, the province has about 11,500ha of mango, 40,000ha of cashew, 14,300 ha of pepper, and 11,000ha of rambutan.

Tran Lam Sinh, the department’s head, said local government has set up working teams to inspect the situation and draw out measures to help farmers prevent diseases from spreading.

The recent abnormal weather has damaged dozens of hectares of mango and rambutan and destroyed hectares of pepper.

Pepper and cashew growers in Binh Phuoc province have suffered the same situation, due to the impacts of climate change.

Binh Phuoc province is considered Vietnam’s cashew kingdom. The farmers earned big profits last year, when the yield reached 202,000 tonnes on total area of 149,000ha and the price was at peak as compared previous years, reported the provincial Agriculture and Rural Development.

However, this year will be hard.

“The unseasonal rains destroyed cashew flowers, so this year the yield will definitely fall by 50 percent”, Nguyen Van Chien from Bu Gia Map district told Dau Tu (Invesment) Review.

“The weather this year is so strange. I have never ever seen heavy rains in February. The rain destroyed all my flower-bearing trees”, said Nguyen Van Tu in Dong Phu district.

The unusual weather has not only caused losses for farmers but also for exporting businesses.

The big concern for pepper and cashew exporters is lack of products to fulfill contracts signed this year.

According to Tran Hoang Son, Director of Gia Bao Cashew Company, the cashew price will increase to 50,000 VND from 45,000 VND per kg due to crop losses.

“The increase of price is not the only concern. The product scarcity is really a headache for the business”, Son said.

We are afraid we will lack products to fulfill the contracts this year, he said.

Hua Thi Lien, Director of Viet Pepper Company based in HCM City, expressed her worries about foreseen losses of pepper crops.

“Our companies signed big contracts with partners in India, Canada, and China,” she said.

The company will definitely suffer losses due to price hikes and lack of products for export, Lien said.-VNA