Vietnam’s agriculture sector ready to cope with drought
24 May 2023, VN: Making preparation to cope with drought, the MARD considered the option of stopping nitrogenous fertilizer factories without affecting the input supply.
Mr. Le Van Duc, Deputy Director of the Department of Crop Production, said, “Following the directive of the Prime Minister, the Department of Crop Production under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has sent an official dispatch to localities to respond to drought”.
Regarding the rice production scene, the 2022-2023 winter-spring rice crop is fairly favorable with a cultivated area of nearly 2 million ha and a yield of over 7 tons/ha. Mr. Duc assessed that this is a high-yield crop.
In the north, the winter-spring crop plants 1.07 million ha, the rice is in the period of growth and the work of plant protection is carried out well. But from now on until the end of the year, the heat and drought would have very negative impacts on rice, fruit trees as well as other crops.
Considering the situation, Mr. Le Van Duc laid out several recommendations. As for rice, localities are suggested to perform irrigation in an economical manner, next is to use drought-tolerant and short-day varieties which can save irrigation water while still ensuring high quality. Based on the water source and the drought situation, the production plan must be flexible. In the same area, in the same field, farmers must save irrigation water. Only when the amount of water is enough for 3 months or at least 2.5 months from tillering to flowering can the rice be transplanted in the production area. Farmers should not change to other crops, fruit trees, perennials, or rice-shrimp models.
As for fruit trees, this is an important agricultural product group for domestic and export purposes vulnerable to drought and heat. Therefore, the Mekong Delta region should store water right now. Particularly for trees that produce too many fruits, the branches must be pruned to save irrigation water. During the drought period, growers are advised not to plant new or perform grafting as this would lead to risks.
For industrial crops, especially coffee and tea, it is necessary to increase the planting of shade trees, creating 3 layers: the lower layer is covered with grass, the middle layer plants the crops, and the upper layer plants shade free.
Especially in the case of tea, one thing to note is that localities should promote mechanization. When picking the leaves using machines, growers should pay close attention to the hot season and flexibly extend the harvest time.
Having a master scenario for many years
Last week, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Hoang Hiep led a delegation to check the drought situation in Quang Nam province – one of the places evaluated to soon be affected by drought.
According to Deputy Minister Nguyen Hoang Hiep, Quang Nam has received no news of a drought situation at present. “If the heat lasts longer in the coming months, a drought may truly occur, but it is forecasted that there will be rain this week, so in the near future, there is not much to worry about the drought situation here”.
According to the forecast of the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, the El Nino phenomenon may appear in the second half of the summer of 2023 and remain until 2024 with a probability of 70 – 80%.
In El Nino conditions, the average monthly temperature in most regions of the country tends to be higher than normal. The heat can become more and more intense. There is even a possibility of many records of absolute high temperatures. The activity of storms/tropical depressions may not be much, but is more concentrated in the middle of the season and much more unpredictable, both in intensity and trajectory.
Deputy Minister Nguyen Hoang Hiep emphasized that the current drought situation has not reached its peak. “If rainfall is limited and the hot/dry situation persists, it is prognosticated that from July to October, severe drought will occur. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is making general assessments to come up with overall solutions not only in 2023 but also for the following years because of the increasingly severe cyclical changes in the weather”.
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