TRÀ VINH – More than 13,000 farming households in the Mekong Delta province of Trà Vinh are suffering damage from the prolonged drought and saltwater infiltration, said an official from the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
More than 11,000ha of winter-spring rice crops have been affected, mostly in the districts of Trà Cú, Tiểu Cần, Châu Thành, Duyên Hải and Trà Vinh City, causing losses of more than VNĐ5 billion (US$225,000).
According to the department director, Trần Trung Hiền, saltwater has penetrated over 60km inland. The salinity concentrations recorded in the Cai Hợp culvert of the Cổ Chiên River was as high as 13.6 parts per thousand (ppt), up from 7.2ppt recorded during the same period last year.
The figures were 7.2 and 4.8ppt in the Rach Rum culvert and the Tân Định canal, respectively. The acceptable concentration limit is 2ppt.
The agricultural sector has accelerated the dredging of canals while pumping water into key irrigational systems.
Technical assistance and consultation services have been provided for local farmers to help them cultivate and use irrigation water effectively during these tough conditions.
The restructuring of crops is one of the measures being adopted to cope with the severe weather and salt influx. The winter-spring rice crop will be replaced with other crops in the districts of Trà Cú, Châu Thành, Cầu Ngang and Duyên Hải. Local farmers are also encouraged to use salt-tolerant rice varieties.
A mere 5,800ha out of a total of 76,000ha winter-spring rice fields have been harvested. The remaining are in a critical period of development. -- VNS