Rain, wind batter Mekong farms

VietNamNet Bridge – Heavy rains and strong winds have flattened paddy fields in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, making it difficult for farmers to harvest rice.


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Farmers in Vi Thanh in the southern Hau Giang Province attempt to salvage their last summer-autumn rice crops after prolonged heavy rains caused floods and destroyed between 18 and 20 per cent of their rice fields. - Photo: VNA/VNS

In Hau Giang Province’s Chau Thanh A District, farmers have entered the peak harvest season of the summer-autumn rice crop.

“Rains and strong winds have flattened all of my rice that was ready for harvest," said Cao Thanh Binh, who grows 1.4ha of rice in Chau Thanh A’s Truong Long A Commune.

Owners of combine harvesters are now charging VND300,000 per 1,000 sq.m to harvest rice in flattened paddy fields. The price is normally VND260,000 per 1,000 sq.m.

Pham Thanh Hoai, chairman of the Truong Long A Commune People’s Committee, said the process of harvesting the commune’s 1,900 ha of rice had been slow because of prolonged rains.

The flattened fields had caused yields to fall by 20-30 per cent, he said.

The price of paddy has fallen, causing a drop in profits for farmers, he said.

Before mid-May, traders made deposits to buy in advance fresh normal-quality paddy at fields at a price of VND4,700 a kilo.

The price is now VND4,300 a kilo, according to the Truong Long A Commune People’s Committee.

In major rice cultivating areas in Can Tho City, Kien Giang and Dong Thap provinces, farmers also face a similar situation.

Farmer Le Ngoc Le in Can Tho’s Vinh Thanh District said farmers had been waiting at fields a week as combine harvesters were overloaded.

In the summer-autumn rice crop, paddy fields in fresh water areas in Can Tho City, Dong Thap, An Giang and Vinh Long provinces had high yields as they were not affected by drought and salt water intrusion.

Farmers were able to have a profit of VND20 million (US$900) per ha, according to the Delta’s provincial departments of agriculture and rural development.

But in areas affected by heavy rains and strong winds in recent days, farmers have had a profit of VND12-15 million per ha because of reduced yield and price.

Le Van Doi, deputy director of the Hau Giang Province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, was quoted as saying to Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper that his department had warned farmers to follow the weather forecast and watch for crop diseases.

In areas in Hau Giang’s Long My District that have not planted the summer-autumn rice because of drought and salt water intrusion, farmers should sow the summer-autumn rice as rains have pushed salt water away, he said.

Long My has about 6,000ha of rice fields that have not planted the summer-autumn rice crop.

Rains, however, have created good conditions to sow autumn-summer rice in drought and saline-hit areas, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Plant Cultivation Department.

About 500,000ha of the delta’s paddy fields located 50 km from the coast have not planted the autumn-summer rice.

These paddy fields should be promptly sowed as there is an abundance of fresh water due to early rains, said the Plant Cultivation Department.

    

VNS

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