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Dry weather forecast to leave crops thirsty

Update: November, 23/2015 - 09:01
El Nino will last until next spring, the season when winter crops are harvested, and is expected to usher in higher-than-average temperatures. — Illustrative Image

HA NOI (VNS) — El Nino will last until next spring, the season when winter crops are harvested, and is expected to usher in higher-than-average temperatures, according to the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.

As a result, northern provinces are likely to face a water shortage and a warm harvesting season for winter-spring crops, the centre said.

El Nino is the warm phase of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (commonly called ENSO) and is associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific.

It is the longest El Nino period in the past 50 years, said experts from the centre.

The amount of rainfall in the central area could be 30 to 60 per cent less than average. Unfavourable weather has sharply affected crop productivity since the beginning of the year. A serious drought in central areas rendered 49,000ha of agricultural land unsuitable for cultivation.

The area in which summer-autumn rice was planted in northern provinces shrunk by 1.3 per cent compared with previous years, and the area of the winter crop shrunk by 13.6 per cent as of the beginning of November.

Tran Xuan Dinh, deputy director of the Crop Production Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, told the Kinh te do thi (Economics and Urban) newspaper that this year's winter-spring crop is expected to face a water shortage.

To minimise the consequences, Dinh said localities should give instructions about climate change and make farmers aware that they will face a warm season and drought so that they can plan accordingly.

Localities should change their crops and plant a variety of different crops.

For instance, with warm weather, the farmers should use a short-term rice variety and cultivate it at the beginning of February next year.

The Directorate of Water Resources asked provinces and cities to outline plans to cope with drought, namely plans to closely monitor water levels in ponds and rivers.

Pham Khanh Ly, deputy director of the Department of Aqua culture under the Directorate of Fisheries, said the department has also instructed farmers to start breeding fish a month earlier than usual, beginning next month.

The breeding density will be decreased by 10 per cent in order to prevent diseases caused by water shortages and overcrowding.

The Ha Noi People's Committee has asked districts to establish plans for the winter-spring crop that are suitable with the present water condition.

Farmers should use a plant variety that needs little water to ensure productivity, Ly said, adding that irrigation systems should be operated regularly to remove water from the Hong (Red) River. — VNS

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