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Salinity and drought significantly affect rice production, adopting Good Agricultural Practices is a key solution: Some insights for Mekong River Delta, Vietnam
Wednesday, 2020/05/13 | 08:19:39

Rico C. Ancog, Pedcris M. Orencio, Romeo V. Labios, Nguyen Thi Lang, and Glenn B. Gregorio

 

SEARCA – SEAMEO; Policy Brief Series 2020-1

 

What are the economic consequences of drought and salinization? What can farmers do to effectively respond to salinization and ensure farm production is maximized? Overall, salinization, as exacerbated by several climate change-related hazards, has been significantly affecting rice production in the Mekong River Delta, a major rice production region in Vietnam. But there is a solution—massive promotion of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in cultivating rice in coastal saline environment among farmers up to a level that it has achieved significant and wider strategic adoption.

 

The recent declaration of state of calamity in major rice producing provinces of the Mekong Delta Region (MDR) in Vietnam due to combined effects of drought and salinity raises the alarm of its wide-ranging social and economic impacts. Agriculture accounted for 14.57 percent of the GDP of Vietnam in 2018 and remains to be a top source of employment. In 2009–2018, the Mekong Delta Region shared ~50 percent of the total volume of rice production in Vietnam, ranging from 21 to 26 million tons over an area of 3.87 to 4.34 million hectares.

 

What are the economic consequences of salinization and drought? What can farmers do to effectively respond to salinization and ensure farm production is maximized? Overall, salinization, as exacerbated by several climate change-related hazards, has been significantly affecting rice production in the Mekong River Delta, a major rice production region in Vietnam. But there is a solution—massive promotion of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in cultivating rice in coastal saline environment among farmers up to a level that it has achieved significant and wider strategic adoption.

 

Salinity and drought significantly affect the area and volume of rice production in the Mekong River Delta Progressive intrusion of saltwater into irrigated farmlands causes soil salinity to rise. Rice production in Vietnam decreased by 4.5 percent from 45.10 M tons (2015) to 43.17 M tons (2016), while the yield per hectare decreased by 3.2 percent from 5.76 tons/ha (2015) to 5.58 tons/ha (2016). In the case of MRD, with a total agricultural land area of 7.74 million has as of 2016, studies have shown that its soils are highly variable and saline-dominated. Saltwater was estimated to intrude 30 to 40 kilometers inland paddy fields to high salinity levels rendering large areas unsuitable for crop production. In 2016, 10 of 13 provinces in the MRD suffered severe drought and salinity intrusion due to the decrease in upstream flow as a result of El Niño. Almost all of the provinces are significantly affected by salinity intrusion except in Dong Thap, Can Tho, and relatively less in An Giang. Estimates have shown that 51 percent of the total rice area of MRD has been affected by varying degrees of salt intrusion and El Niño—especially in the provinces of Ben Tre, Ca Mau, Tra Vinh and Hau Giang, which could result to significant mean yield reduction of ≥ 25.8% in high salinity risks.

 

See https://www.searca.org/pubs/briefs-notes?pid=461

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