Developing Countries Will Lead Global Rice Import Growth in 2013-22, Says USDA Rice growers positive California MG prices are UP Russia MG Harvest coming to end Egypt open rice exports Vietnam’s rice export in tough competition with India Thai rice exports in May Rise Above Target This Year Viet-Nam Rice exports likely to fall this year
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Drought delays cultivation of winter-spring rice crop
Drought continues parching many areas across Viet Nam, preventing farmers from beginning their winter-spring rice cultivation.

Agricultural officials from multiple provinces voiced their concern at a meeting in Ha Noi on Sunday where they hoped to discuss possible solutions.

Nguyen Dinh Ninh, deputy director of the Water Resource Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said water levels for most of the big rivers have fallen significantly, decreasing between 20 and 40 per cent from previous years.

At 7am yesterday, the water level was gauged at 1.77m in the Hong (Red) River, the lowest rate in the past century.

Ninh also said some reservoirs, including Cam Son in Bac Giang and Van Truc in Vinh Phuc, only met 50-60 per cent of their designed capacity.

"The water shortage is critical this year," he said.

"Lots of areas will need to shift their traditional rice cultivation to drought-resistant plants." The drought could threaten 40 per cent of 78,000ha of winter-spring rice in Ha Tay Province and 8,500 out of 37,000ha in Phu Tho. Thai Binh’s authorities were also worried that they will lose hundreds of billions of dong because they lack the water needed to irrigate their 82,000ha of rice. In all, the north has over 644,000ha of paddy fields for winter-spring rice. Of that amount, 481,000ha need to be irrigated.

At the meeting, provincial agricultural officials agreed to speed canal dredging to help supply water for the upcoming rice harvest. The work is expected to be completed within the month.

Ninh also urged farmers from coastal areas to take advantage of tidal water when the tide rose. The weather forecasters said there would be two periods of high tides over the next two months. The Water Resource Department also proposed that the power sector discharge water from the Hoa Binh and Thac Ba reservoirs to maintain a minimum water level on the Red River’s downstream flow of 2.3m from January 15 to February 28. Deputy General Director of Electricity of Viet Nam, Tran Van Duoc, however, said it is difficult to meet the demand due to the rising consumption of power this year. Meanwhile, it was predicted that there would be no small floods in 2006, Duoc said. As a result, the reservoirs will not be supplemented with water. Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) region’s statistics showed that the three provinces of Gia Lai, Dac Lac and Kon Tum lost VND1.5 trillion (US$94 million) from the drought during the 2004-05 season. The drought led to crop loss, hunger and disease. Around 400,000 people in the region needed food aid after the drought, said the local authorities, who also affirmed that the problem didn’t look better this year.
MGR Archive 18.1.2006
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