With no floods, Mekong Delta farmers suffer losses

VietNamNet Bridge - Many specialties of the flooding season in the southwestern region of Vietnam and the Mekong Delta like linh fish, dien dien flowers, shrimp, fish, crabs and snails are scarce as the usual floods have not come.

The region’s worst drought in 90 years, combined with rising sea levels and rampant development are causing a crisis in the Mekong Delta, known as Vietnam’s rice bowl. The delta is home to 20 million people and accounts for more than half of Vietnam’s rice and fruit production, 90% of its rice exports and 60% of fishery exports.

This year, paddy fields resemble parched deserts as farmers wait for a rainy season that is late to arrive. 

This year the early floods in May were very low and the peak flooding came late. The peak in the upstream of the Mekong Delta was over 2m lower than that of 2000. The total amount of water was 50-60 percent of the average in previous years. The Mekong Delta has suffered great losses due to the late, small flood.


Inside a house on stilts on the Chung Thang riverbank, a branch of the Hau River, Mr. Phan Van Don of An Phu district in An Giang province said because of small floods, young people had nothing to do so they had flocked to cities to work. On October 10, water level on the Tien River was only 2.70 m and 2.31 m on the Hau River.

Without floods, farmers don’t have fish. A local fisherman said previously he could net 100kg of fish a day but now the catch is only 5-7kg/day.

 As the fish and shrimp catch is very low, the price has shot up.

Other specialties of the flooding season like dien dien and sung dong flowers are also scarce.

Without floods, mice breed and grow, destroying rice fields.

Director of Hau Giang Province Department of Agriculture Nguyen Van Dong said: "The flood has not come, nor sediment. Many fields are chapped this year. Farmers burn the fields. This has never happened before."

Mr. Dong was afraid that saltwater will penetrate the field early and suggested the Ministry of Agriculture hold intensive workshops to assess the harm and risks of late floods and response measures.

Le Ha

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