Southern provinces ready infrastructure for drought, heat waves

Update: March, 23/2019 - 09:00
Electrical workers in Gia Lai Province perform a check on the grid system to ensure there is a safe and stable supply of power during the dry season. VNA/VNS Photo
Viet Nam News

GIA LAI – Provinces in the southern region and the Central Highlands have taken measures to prepare for drought and ensure a stable supply of power as weather forecasts say that the region could face a prolonged heat wave this year.

Gia Lai Central Highlands province has more than 530,000ha of agricultural land. Nearly 230,000ha are planted with perennial industrial trees, requiring a huge amount of power for irrigation. This is especially true for two main crops: coffee and pepper.

According to Vietnam News AgencyĐắk Đoa District – one of the localities with a large area of rubber, coffee and pepper in Gia Lai province – used to suffer from overloading of the grid in the dry season and weak power transmission during rainy season.

Since 2011, Đắk Đoa Power Company has built transformer stations in industrial cultivation areas to provide farmers with enough electricity to pump water for their farms.

Local people have gradually switched over to automatic irrigation equipment, helping to reduce costs and labour while increasing productivity.

Trần Quang Minh, a resident of Nam Yang Commune, said production was more efficient than in past years because there was a stable supply of power to use irrigation equipment.

In the past, local farmers used to run diesel generators to pump water for their farms, costing a lot of money, he said.

“Since we started getting electricity, irrigation has improved and helped people expand production to earn more money,” Minh said.

Forecasts show the dry season will see a prolonged heat wave in the Central Highlands that will increase power consumption, said Nguyễn Văn Phiện, deputy director of Đắk Đoa Power Company.

The company has set up plans to prevent overloading at more than 10 transformer stations in the locality to ensure a stable power supply, he said.

Lê Quang Trường, director of the provincial power company, said it would supply sufficient electricity to meet demand across the region even in the case of a prolonged heat wave.

In the south, farmers are switching to drought-resistant crops to prepare, said.

In Hồng Ngự District, Đồng Tháp Province, farmers have planted sesame, beans and cassava instead of rice in high areas which are at risk of water shortage.

“In drought months, I can not plant rice because it could not bring high profits while I have to invest so much money,” said Nguyễn Văn Trung, a farmer from Thưởng Phước 1 Commune. “Growing sesame does not require as much water or money.”

Trung said he could harvest up to 100kg of seasame in each crop and earn VNĐ2 million at a price of VNĐ30,000 per kg.

Over the years, switching from cultivating rice to sesame has helped many farmers increase their incomes.

This plant is drought-resistant and easy to tend, and profits are much higher than rice. It has become a key crop in the local agricultural restructuring scheme, according to farmers.

Nguyễn Hoàng Nhung, head of Hồng Ngự District’s agriculture and rural development office, said the district was also speeding progress on dredging irrigation works and repairing pumping stations to ensure it could supply enough water for irrigation. VNS