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Central growers fear damaging drought

Update: December, 01/2012 - 09:51

BINH DINH (VNS)— Nguyen Nao finds it hard to believe that it is the rainy season now.

The 72-year-old farmer in the central province of Binh Dinh says that weather conditions at present match that of the summer season.

"I have lived my whole life here, but I have never seen such an abnormal weather situation like this year," he said.

Nao, a resident of Phu My District, said his area has had just a few small showers from the beginning of the rainy season until now.

Farmers all over the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) and central regions are worried about their crops as the prospects of a hurtful drought loom large this year.

In the central region, the quantity of rainfall in many provinces has been much lower than last year, local officials say.

In Binh Thuan, the quantity of rainfall received so far during the ongoing rainy season is just 20 per cent of the same period last year, according to the province's Irrigation Projects Exploitation Company.

In Quang Nam Province, thousands of families along the Thu Bon River are worried as there has been no flooding so far this year, despite it being the storm season.

Although people in low lying areas face difficulties when the floods come, but they also have highly beneficial impacts. They bring silt into paddy fields and wash alum and salinity out of paddy fields, helping farmers have a good harvest.

Thua Thien – Hue, Quang Binh and Quang Tri provinces, which normally experience at least three to four storms and floods during the rainy season, have drawn a blank this year.

Nguyen Van Bai, director of the Quang Tri Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the rainfall in the province was just 1,700mm so far this year while the average annual rainfall in the province was 2,500mm.

In fact, millions of farmers have not dared plant crops because they are unsure of getting enough water.

In Binh Dinh, the possibility of drought occurring during the 2012-13 winter-spring crop and for the whole of 2013 is very high, according to the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The area of paddy fields in Binh Dinh that lack irrigation water for the winter-spring crop is between 3,300-4,300ha, according to the department.

Water levels in Binh Dinh reservoirs now stand at 30 per cent of their capacity.

Le Huu Loc, chairman of the Binh Dinh People's Committee, said he has instructed the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and people's committees at all levels to prepare plans for distributing available irrigation water.

Priority in water supply would be given to households' daily use, animal husbandry, aquaculture and rice cultivation, he said.

Tay Nguyen suffers

Meanwhile, in the Tay Nguyen (Central Highland) province of Gia Lai, the drought has already caused poor harvests in eastern districts.

Dang Dia, deputy head of the Krong Chro District's Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau in Gia Lai, said the district has been hit hard for nearly one month now.

Nearly 1,000ha of crops, mostly corn and cotton, have been destroyed because of droughts, he said.

The Ba River, which provides most of the irrigation water for Gia Lai's eastern districts, is drying up because of several hydropower plants.

Le Thanh Xuan, deputy head of the Gia Lai Irrigation and Aquaculture Sub-department, said the shortage of irrigation water in the province has occurred since last year, but the situation was more severe this year.

His sub-department would monitor the situation and be active in providing water for agriculture production from irrigation projects and reservoirs of hydropower plants, he said. — VNS

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