Drought is likely to be severe in the central and southern regions and the Central Highlands this year, a seminar heard in Ninh Thuan Province on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development organised the seminar to discuss the task of preventing and controlling drought and saltwater intrusion in the regions.
The dry season in coastal provinces from Nghe An to Ninh Thuan lasts from February until August, and this year water levels in rivers there will be 40-80 per cent lower than normal, according to the Central Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting.
Thanh Nien (Young People)
Sugar output falls sharply
The country's sugar mills have so far produced more than 505,900 tonnes of sugar this sugarcane crop season, down 97,600 tonnes from a year ago, according to the Department of Processing and Trade for Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Products and Salt Production.
Meanwhile, sugar stocks have risen marginally to 338,000 tonnes and the price on the market has fallen to VND11,000-11,500 a kilogramme, down VND500-1,000 from December.
Nhan Dan (The People)
Programme links banks to businesses
A State Bank of Viet Nam programme to link up banks and businesses is expected to see the latter get preferential loans worth VND60 trillion (US$2.9 billion) this year, 50 per cent up from last year, according to the central bank.
In HCM City, the programme will be expanded this year to include more kinds of businesses like co-operatives, those run by households and traders at wholesale markets.
The businesses are provided short-term loans at interest rates of less than 7 per cent and medium- and long-term loans at 9 per cent.
Thoi Bao Kinh Te Viet Nam (Viet Nam Economic Times)
Healthcare lacking in Central Highlands
Most healthcare and health indicators in the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) region are much lower than the country's average levels, the Ministry of Health reported at a seminar in Dak Lak Province on Tuesday.
The average life span of people in the region is 69.5 years compared to the national average of 73.1 years. The rate of children under five with stunted-growth malnutrition is 33 per cent while the country's is 26 per cent.
The ministry and Tay Nguyen authorities petitioned the Government to increase spending on healthcare in the region.
Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon)