As per report released by the Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), it has been indicated that the on-going drought and salt water intrusion have damaged more than 200,000 tons of rice worth one trillion VND (around $44.64 million), as announced by the Radio Free Asia. Further, the MARD has also noted that salt water intrusion appeared two months earlier than previous years due to lower water levels in rivers. It has also been revealed that in case, if the drought persists until June this year, the Ministry expects about 500,000 hectares of rice crops to be at risk. An expert from the Can Tho University informed to the reporters that drought and more upstream agricultural development in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam are pushing up the saline levels in rivers. Furthermore, salinity in the Vam Co, Tien and Hau Rivers and in other rivers in Mekong Delta is reportedly to be higher than traditional levels.
In this matter, further, it has been narrated that in the last month, the Deputy Prime Minister announced 2.3 billion VND (around $103,132) aid for farmers in the Mekong Delta region. Meanwhile, exporters are worried that it is likely that there may be lower production due to drought and salinity may have impact on the exports as well. In addition, it has also been narrated that there is a lack of water for irrigation which has reduced the quality of Vietnamese rice and its competitiveness against rice from other countries in the region too. So far in this year the Vietnamese rice exporters have signed contracts to export more than 1 million tons. As per data, it has been indicated that the Vietnam exported 856,219 tons of rice in first two months of 2016, which is up about 103% from 421,202 tons of rice exported during same period the in last year, as stated by the Vietnam Food Association (VFA). Further, in order to boost exports to high-end markets, experts are emphasizing on the need to invest in improving rice varieties, developing more large-scale fields, building trademarks, and also expanding trade promotion programs too.