CUU LONG DELTA (VNS)— Prolonged rains over the past week in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta have severely affected the harvest and quality of the summer-autumn rice crop.
The delta is entering peak harvest time for the crop, but harvesting has been slow, as ripe rice plants have been toppled by heavy rains and wind.
Pham Thi Ngot, who cultivates 0.6ha rice in Tam Binh District in Vinh Long Province, said more than 70 per cent of her plants had collapsed and must be harvested by hand.
Ngot said she was also short of workers as demand for farm help was high this season.
Heavy winds and rain have toppled about half of 27,000ha of ripe rice in Vinh Long Province, according to the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Le Quang Thao, deputy chairman of the Xuan Hiep Commune People's Committee in Vinh Long's Tra On District, said: "The quality of harvested rice has declined, as many of the seeds have germinated."
Delta farmers have also had trouble sundrying their rice because of the rainy weather. In addition, there are not enough dryers on hand.
In Can Tho City, although farmers have harvested more than half of the city's 40,000ha of rice, few traders have bought the grain, citing low quality.
Rice companies have urged farmers to reduce the size of fields and plant only high-quality varieties.
The remaining cultivation areas should be switched to other cash crops, they said.
In Kieng Giang Province, the country's rice-production leader, heavy rains have also hindered harvesting.
Kien Giang's pump stations have been operating at full capacity over the past several days to draw water out of rice fields.
In addition, the price of hiring a worker to harvest one hectare of rice has gone up to VND500,000 (US$24).
Kien Giang has planted 230,000ha of rice for this summer-autumn crop.
In Hau Giang Province, farmers have harvested more than 25,000ha of 76,600ha of the summer-autumn crop, according to the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Because of rains, farmers have been unable to dry rice and, as a result, the grain has germinated, leading to lower selling prices, according to the province's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. — VNS