Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

Tien Giang (VNA) – Despite a larger scale of plantation, winter-spring rice crops grown in the south are estimated to yield just over 11.36 million tonnes of rice, a decrease of 190,000 tonnes compared with last year.

Le Thanh Tung, an official from the Department of Plant Cultivation under the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, reported the figures at a conference in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang ’s My Tho city on March 25.

Tung said the dent in production stemmed from widespread and serious drought and saltwater intrusion across the region.

In the Mekong Delta, severe weather has damaged nearly 160,000 hectares of rice since the end of last year.

According to Tung, around 1 million out of 1.66 million hectares of regional winter-spring fields have been harvested so far, with another 500,000 hectares of rice ripening.

The delta plans to plant rice crops on more than 1.6 million and 900,000 hectares of fields in the summer-autumn and autumn-winter seasons, respectively. Respective expected outputs are 9.28 million and 5 million tonnes of rice, both higher than last year.

To realise these targets, Deputy Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh, who chaired the conference, underscored improving irrigation systems, providing timely weather forecasts and overhauling local agricultural production.

He said coastal areas and the Mekong Delta, which are prone to natural disasters, need to devise relevant farming strategies.-VNA