DAK LAK — A rare drought damaged nearly 25,000ha of crops in the central highlands province of Dak Lak, said the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Over 6,20ha of maize, rice and beans were reported completely destroyed.
According to the department, the districts of Krong Bong, Krong Pak, and Ea Kar suffered most from the disaster.
Pham Phu Thien, head of the agriculture and rural development office of Krong Bong district, estimated that the district would lose VND80 billion (US$4million) from the disaster. In the neighbouring Krong Pak district, out of 18,179ha planted for the summer-autumn season, more than 6,000ha were reported to be too dry or completely unsalvageable.
Nguyen Minh Loan, a local agriculture staff member, said that in his 32 years living in the area, this was the most severe drought he'd seen during a rainy season.
The department said most of the reservoirs and dams in the districts had run out of water. Even those that retained water had too little to feed the damaged plants.
Farmer Phung Van Thang spent over VND10 million ($500) on seedlings and fertiliser for his crops of maize and rice, with the hope of making a profit of VND40 million ($2,000). But the drought destroyed these aspirations. "I lost my rice in the field, my maize in the hill. What can we eat now?" he said.
In order to cope with the problem, Dak Lak Province directed all its forces to dredge ponds and canals to save as many crops as possible. They also gave money to support seed-lings so poor farmerscould survive.
Dak Lak is one of many central cities and provinces that often suffer severe drought. — VNS