Saltwater intrusion and drought in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tra Vinh caused a total damage of VND1 trillion (US$43 million) to agricultural production in the 2019-20 dry season.
|A rice field damaged by saltwater in Tra Vinh Province’s Tra Cu District. Saltwater intrusion and drought damaged more than 28,500ha of rice in Tra Vinh Province in the last dry season. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Hoa|
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 VND19.4 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 Tra Vinh on Tuesday, Pham Minh Truyen, 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 Cang Long, Cau Ke, Chau Thanh and Tra Cu.
It also dredged the May Phop – Nga Hau Canal to transport fresh water from the neighbouring province of Vinh Long to serve agricultural production.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development also sped up the construction of two saltwater prevention sluices in Cau Ke District, and put them into use in the last dry season.
The province mobilised VND29 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 VND40 billion ($1.7 million) for 28,000 households to help them recover agricultural production. It has so far granted VND19 billion of the VND40 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
Saltwater intrusion has occurred in most areas of the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Tra Vinh, forcing authorities to close most saltwater-prevention sluices and to stop planting the 2019-20 winter-spring crop in some areas.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved a plan to provide VND70 billion to five Mekong Delta provinces – Long An, Tien Giang, Ben Tre, Kien Giang and Ca Mau – to respond to ongoing problems with seawater intrusion and drought.