Business Business

28/04/2020 - 10:55

“Saving” 16,000 hectares of flooded and fallen rice fields

The continuous rain in the past 3 days (from 24 to 27/4) caused thousands of hectares of rice in the province to be flooded and fallen. The rain had not stopped, so the hurried work of harvesting rice was difficult to deploy, increasing the risk of rice germination and crop failure.

The fight to save flooded rice needs to be implemented quickly to reduce the damage

Repeated damage

"We just need sunny weather in the next 1-2 days. When the roots are dry enough and we are able to harvest, we can save thousands of hectares of rice," Mr. Hoang Hung, a farmer in Vinh An (Phong Binh, Phong Dien) said anxiously.

In the winter-spring crop this year, Mr. Hung's family sowed 1.5 hectares of rice. Heavy rain and wind in the past 3 days caused more than 1 hectare of his family's rice to fall, and it is expected that rice yield will decrease by 30-40%, even up to 50% in some fields. The rice is already ripe but not yet harvested, increasing the risk of germination in the field.

At Thuy Thanh Agricultural Cooperative (Thuy Thanh Commune, Huong Thuy Town), more than 100 hectares of rice fell and got flooded in 30cm of water. 

Mr. Phung Huu Thanh, Director of Thuy Thanh Agricultural Cooperative, said that he had been extremely worried when visiting the farmers' fields as well as the cooperative’s fields in the past few days. Rain had not stopped for 3 days, if it continued for long, 100 ha/310 ha of rice of the cooperative are at risk of complete loss. The damage of the previous rain had not been overcome when this rain came.  

“At present, farmers are facing many difficulties not only due to the risk of rice germination in the field, but also the price of harvesting fallen rice has increased 40,000 to 50,000VND per each 500m2field. The cooperative have drained water from the field very early on, but if it continues to rain, the risk of crop failure can occur,” Mr. Thanh said.

According to the Provincial Steering Committee for Disaster Prevention and Search and Rescue, due to the increase of the cold front, from April 24-25, there was moderate rain to heavy rain. There were places with very heavy rain and thunderstorms. The average rainfall was from 57-175mm. Rain concentrated in the delta and inland areas. This combined with high tides continued to make nearly 16,000 hectares of rice in the localities fell and flooded from 0.2-0.3m, causing heavy damage. In particular, the worst losses were in Huong Thuy with 2,600 ha; Quang Dien 3,000 ha, Phu Vang 3,000 ha...

The Provincial Department of Plant Farming and Plant Protection (Department of Agriculture and Rural Development) said that in the winter-spring crop of 2019-2020, the whole province planted 28,600 ha, with an estimated productivity of 6280kg/ha. Currently, the harvest area has only reached about 6,000 ha. This rainfall has affected the progress and extended the time of harvest. It has also increased harvest costs and potentially reduced the productivity of the rice crop. Some ripe rice fields were harvested; but the rice risks germination if not dries properly. 

In the last two heavy rains, it is estimated that the rice yield is reduced by 15% in the total cultivated area. The lost yield is estimated at 270,000 tons, equivalent to about VND 150 billion. The expenditure for flood drainage for the area affected by heavy rain is about VND 831 million.

If it continues to rain, thousands of hectares of rice in the province are at risk of loss

Prevent flooding to save rice

To proactively combat flooding for winter-spring rice, localities in the province had cooperated with the Agricultural Irrigation Management Co., Ltd to actively pump irrigation water in an area of about 4,156 ha in low sunken areas. However, the difficulty was that it was still raining, although the rainfall has decreased compared to the previous days. This had caused difficulties for the deployment of rice harvesting in the fields.

Mr. Ho Dac Tho, Director of the Provincial Farming and Plant Protection Department, said that to limit the loss of productivity of the winter-spring rice crop in 2019-2020 due to the effects of heavy rain, The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development had proposed that localities of flooded areas need to urgently mobilize forces to drain water from rice fields. Not leaving rice fields submerged for many days will limit germs and pathogenic fungi such as blast disease or rice bacterial blight to develop and cause severe damage to rice yield and quality. The Agricultural Irrigation Management Co., Ltd and cooperatives need to continue to fight flooding in order to protect the area of rice that fell and quickly drain the fields.

"The current effective measure is to take advantage of the dry weather and continue draining the water to quickly harvest the remaining areas," said Mr. Tho.

In addition, local authorities are requested to continue inspecting and assessing the rice damage rate due to flooding and collapse to take measures to overcome and limit losses in productivity and quality of the winter-spring 2019-2020 crop and urge the harvest of ripe rice areas when possible.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development also asked the provincial People's Committee to propose the Central Steering Committee for Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development,  to support the province with 1,000 tons of rice seed (Khang Dan 18, HT1, HN6) for farmers to begin sowing for the summer-autumn crop in 2020.

In the long term, the province directs the agricultural sector to restructure agricultural production in the direction of adapting to climate change, promoting regional advantages, on the basis of increasing the proportion of areas with comparative advantages. Along with overcoming difficulties, there should be focus on promoting production, transforming the form of agricultural business towards increasing value and preparing the best conditions to deploy production of summer-autumn crop.

Story and photos: Ha Nguyen