|A rice field damaged by saltwater in Trà Vinh Province’s Trà Cú District. Saltwater intrusion and drought damaged more than 28,500ha of rice in Trà Vinh Province in the last dry season. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Hòa|
TRÀ VINH — Saltwater intrusion and drought in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Trà Vinh caused a total damage of VNĐ1 trillion (US$43 million) to agricultural production in the 2019-20 dry season, according to the province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The coastal province is one of the delta’s localities that is usually hardest hit by saltwater intrusion in the dry season between December and April each year.
During the previous dry season, saltwater intrusion and drought damaged more than 28,500ha of rice, and 271ha of fruit and dozens of hectares of vegetables.
Thousands of households in rural areas also faced a shortage of clean water.
The province’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries production value reached only VNĐ19.4 trillion ($835 million) in the first nine months of the year, down 4.2 per cent year-on-year.
During the period, the province’s rice growing area declined by 38,000ha against the same period last year.
Speaking at a seminar held in Trà Vinh on Tuesday, Phạm Minh Truyền, director of the department, said the province had predicted saltwater intrusion and drought in the 2019-20 dry season and implemented measures to cope with it.
It dredged 455 in-field irrigation works and pumped irrigation water to save more than 5,700ha of winter-spring rice in districts of Càng Long, Cầu Kè, Châu Thành and Trà Cú.
It also dredged the Mây Phốp – Ngã Hậu Canal to transport fresh water from the neighbouring province of Vĩnh Long to serve agricultural production.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development also sped up the construction of two saltwater prevention sluices in Cầu Kè District, and put them into use in the last dry season.
The province mobilised VNĐ29 billion ($1.24 million) from various sources to install tap water pipes for poor households and households subject to Government preferential policies, and provided plastic water containers and water filters for thousands of households affected by saltwater intrusion and drought.
The province’s People’s Committee also provided VNĐ40 billion ($1.7 million) for 28,000 households to help them recover agricultural production. It has so far granted VNĐ19 billion of the VNĐ40 billion to the affected households.
In the 2020-21 dry season, the province is expected to face severe saltwater intrusion and drought.
To mitigate the damage, the People’s Committee has asked the department to strengthen support activities to enhance public awareness about farming methods used to cope with the incidents.
The department should also adjust crop farming schedules, the People's Committee said.
The province has petitioned the Government to provide funds to projects that prevent and control saltwater intrusion and drought. The projects include 34 sluices to regulate water for agricultural production, and pumping stations at three sluices.
The province has also petitioned the Government to provide funds to build reservoirs and ground-water pumping stations to supply water to 32,500 households. — VNS