Viet Nam News
HCM CITY – Heavy rains and strong winds have flattened paddy fields in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta, making it difficult for farmers to harvest rice.
In Hậu Giang Province’s Châu Thành A District, farmers have entered the peak harvest season of the summer-autumn rice crop.
“Rains and strong winds have flattened all of my rice that was ready for harvest," said Cao Thanh Bình, who grows 1.4ha of rice in Châu Thành A’s Trường Long A Commune.
Owners of combine harvesters are now charging VNĐ300,000 per 1,000 sq.m to harvest rice in flattened paddy fields. The price is normally VNĐ260,000 per 1,000 sq.m.
Phạm Thanh Hoài, chairman of the Trường Long A Commune People’s Committee, said the process of harvesting the commune’s 1,900 ha of rice had been slow because of prolonged rains.
The flattened fields had caused yields to fall by 20-30 per cent, he said.
The price of paddy has fallen, causing a drop in profits for farmers, he said.
Before mid-May, traders made deposits to buy in advance fresh normal-quality paddy at fields at a price of VNĐ4,700 a kilo.
The price is now VNĐ4,300 a kilo, according to the Trường Long A Commune People’s Committee.
In major rice cultivating areas in Cần Thơ City, Kiên Giang and Đồng Tháp provinces, farmers also face a similar situation.
Farmer Lê Ngọc Lề in Cần Thơ’s Vĩnh Thạnh District said farmers had been waiting at fields a week as combine harvesters were overloaded.
In the summer-autumn rice crop, paddy fields in fresh water areas in Cần Thơ City, Đồng Tháp, An Giang and Vĩnh Long provinces had high yields as they were not affected by drought and salt water intrusion.
Farmers were able to have a profit of VNĐ20 million (US$900) per ha, according to the Delta’s provincial departments of agriculture and rural development.
But in areas affected by heavy rains and strong winds in recent days, farmers have had a profit of VNĐ12-15 million per ha because of reduced yield and price.
Lê Văn Đời, deputy director of the Hậu Giang Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, was quoted as saying to Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper that his department had warned farmers to follow the weather forecast and watch for crop diseases.
In areas in Hậu Giang’s Long Mỹ District that have not planted the summer-autumn rice because of drought and salt water intrusion, farmers should sow the summer-autumn rice as rains have pushed salt water away, he said.
Long Mỹ has about 6,000ha of rice fields that have not planted the summer-autumn rice crop.
Rains, however, have created good conditions to sow autumn-summer rice in drought and saline-hit areas, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Plant Cultivation Department.
About 500,000ha of the delta’s paddy fields located 50 km from the coast have not planted the autumn-summer rice.
These paddy fields should be promptly sowed as there is an abundance of fresh water due to early rains, said the Plant Cultivation Department. –VNS