Hundreds of farming households in An Biên District of the southern Kiên Giang Province failed to reap any rice this year due to saline water encroaching into their fields.— Photo tuoitre.vn
KIÊN GIANG — Hundreds of farming households in An Biên District of the southern Kiên Giang Province failed to reap any rice this year due to saline water encroaching into their fields.
However, the saline intrusion is not the consequence of weather patterns or climate change, but rather the result of local shrimp farmers pumping saltwater into their ponds, affecting nearby rice paddy fields.
In Đông Thái Commune’s rice paddy fields, which have summer-fall rice crops, there are no green plants – only withering ones.
Lâm Hoàng Hai, a local, said he could not cultivate this year because the water in the fields reached saline levels of 10 to 12 per cent. The rice plants die when the salt level in the water reaches 4 to 5 per cent.
Other farmers also lost everything and said they felt helpless when they saw their plants submerged in saltwater.
According to Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) reporter, nearly 300 households from Nam Quý hamlet in Đông Thái Commune have switched from rice planting to shrimp raising, despite opposition from other farmers and local authorities.
Officials from the district’s office for land rights registration also leased land for shrimp raising.
About five years ago, farmers from Đông Thái Commune asked local authorities for permission to have one rice season and one shrimp season instead of the customary two rice seasons.
However, according to Nguyễn Việt Bình, the district People’s Committee deputy chairman, infrastructure and irrigation systems could not ensure sufficient water supply for production, so shrimp raising was not allowed.
"Digging ponds and pumping saltwater into the ponds here is illegal," he said.
Nguyễn Công Trận, An Biên District’s People’s Committee chairman, said the district’s leading officials asked agencies to punish violators and require them to compensate farmers for the destruction of their crops.
Officials who leased land to raise shrimp illegally would also be punished, he said. — VNS