Monday, November 8, 2010

Mekong Delta rice farmers long for seasonal floods

Le Hien in Viet Nam News: Viet Nam is the second largest rice exporter in the world. The country exported 6 million tonnes of rice last year. As the biggest delta in the country, the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta is criss-crossed by a number of rivers with rice fields and orchards in between. The region produces about 17 million tonnes of rice annually, which feeds people throughout the country and is also exported. Aqua products, including fish and shrimp, are raised in the region and three million tonnes of fruits are cultivated in the delta as well.

But this year might be different. Due to the effects of climate change, farmers in the region are bracing for a rough year. For farmers living in the Mekong Delta, every Autumn brings the annual floods, which are accompanied by copious amounts of fish. The fish provide a considerable source of income for Mekong Delta farmers, however, the floods have yet to arrive in the delta as Autumn comes to a close.

Farmers living near the Tien and Hau rivers' upper reaches, in An Giang and Dong Thap provinces, say the water levels in these rivers this year are seriously low. According to hydrographic stations in An Giang and Dong Thap, water levels in all the region's rivers are low – about 0.5-1.45m lower than last year's levels.

Thai Van Minh, vice chairman of Phu Loc Commune in Tan Chau District, An Giang, said he had never experienced such a late arrival of the flood season. "No flooding means no fish or other aqua products for farmers to catch," said Minh….

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