KIÊN GIANG — Local people living in the buffer zone next to U Minh Thượng National Park in Kiên Giang Province have been suffering from severe drought in recent times.
During the peak of the dry season, all the canals have dried up causing major difficulties in the communes of Minh Thuận and An Minh Bắc in U Minh Thượng District.
Boats have been left stranded making it impossible to transport agricultural produce to the markets, and some traders have been forced to cut the produces' prices in half.
Hundreds of hectares of vegetables and 1,500ha of bananas have been affected by the extreme weather.
Nguyễn Minh Trọng, a banana farmer in An Minh Bắc Commune, said: “Due to the prolonged drought, saline intrusion and the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the price of bananas has dropped sharply.”
“Previously, I could sell a bunch of bananas for VNĐ6,000 (0.25 US cent), but now the price is less then VNĐ3,000,” Trọng said.
“Although the price has reduced dramatically, I still cannot sell because traders can no longer reach us by boat,” he said.
This has forced farmers to pay to transport their produce to markets in the township, and that is costing them a lot of money.
In Minh Thuận Commune, many vegetable gardens have been badly damaged by the extreme heat and drought.
The weather has destroyed 400ha of shrimp farms.
Road and dyke collapse
Along with losses to agricultural production, local people in U Minh Thượng are facing serious land erosion, and some houses are at risk of collapsing into the rivers.
According to Phạm Duy Tân, deputy head of the agriculture and rural development department of U Minh Thượng Disrict, water levels in canals had dropped sharply causing roads to collapse.
An initial survey showed that there were seven cases of erosion on the dyke system outside the U Minh Thượng National Park.
One case stretches 168m, and 40m of road has been totally destroyed.
These landslides have made it difficult for people to travel and transport goods.
Facing the complicated developments of drought and hot weather, the district’s agricultural workers have advised farmers in the two communes to use water economically to maintain irrigation for their crops and orchards.
Sowing rice crops should be delayed until the rains came, they added.
Authorities in Minh Thuận and An Minh Bắc have asked families living in landslide-risk areas to move to safer places. — VNS