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Drought spurs shift in region's agriculture

Update: February, 27/2013 - 09:44

Drought spurs shift in region's agriculture

The amount of land under rice cultivation will be reduced in central and Central Highlands provinces due to drought. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngoc Ha

HA NOI (VNS)— Rice crops will be reduced by about 4,000ha in central and Central Highlands regions, which will likely be hit by drought during the summer-autumn rice crop, under an order from the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry.

The provinces of Binh Dinh, Da Nang and Dak Lak were asked to grow beans, cassava, maize, peanuts and sugar cane instead of rice, said Nguyen Van Hoa, deputy head of the ministry's Cultivation Department.

The water in most reservoirs in South-Central coastal provinces had decreased by 60-70 per cent, he said. Moreover, saltwater had penetrated the lowlands, posing a threat to pumping stations.

The summer-autumn rice crop – the main crop in these provinces – often lasts from April and September, which is also a time of prolonged hot weather, according to Hoa. Therefore, localities have to make careful calculations to ensure the crops have enough water.

An estimated 398,000ha of summer-autumn rice have been planted in the Central and Central Highlands regions, he said.

"Localities should give local farmers detailed instructions to help them minimise losses," such as growing short-term rice rather than long-term rice to save water and fertilizer, said Deputy Minister Bui Ba Bong.

He advised localities to request financial support from the Government to cope with droughts and restructure crops, in addition to preparing their own funds to support local farmers.

Nguyen Huu Vui, deputy director of Binh Dinh Province's Agriculture and Rural Development, said that because the province only had enough water for 31,500 of its 49,000ha of rice, the locality would grow drought tolerant crops on about 10,000ha. — VNS

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