HCM City / DPA
Severe drought in the Mekong Delta has badly affected agriculture and aquaculture, threatening a scarcity of raw materials for seafood exports.
Shrimp farmers in Ben Tre, Tra Vinh, Soc Trang and Kien Giang provinces are nervous as their shrimp keep dying because of drought and saltwater intrusion up rivers.
â€œShrimp farming is so risky,” Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper quoted Le Minh Hung, a farmer in Binh Dai District, Ben Tre, as saying. â€œI have spent 70 million dong (US$3,000) on two hectares of shrimp within a month but now they are all dead.”
Nguyen Van Dai, deputy chairman of My Long Nam Commune in Tra Vinhâ€™s Cau Ngang District, lamented: â€œShrimp farming in our commune is facing a very serious challenge. This year, farmers have just farmed 300ha out of a total of 910ha of shrimp, but 25 per cent of the shrimp have died of disease.”
Tran Quang Cui, deputy director of the Kien Giang Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said, â€œBefore the bad weather arrived, the department sent workers to measure salinity and it was over 30 per cent. â€œWe couldnâ€™t feed shrimp at that time. We should wait for rain to feed the shrimp.”
Oysters in the delta have also been decimated by the heat, high salinity and pollution.
â€œOysters have started dying in our commune, and we have to harvest now to avoid [further] loss,” Khong Van Lenh of Bao Thuan commune in Ben Treâ€™s Ba Tri District, said. The severe weather is worrying seafood exporters since the farming area has been significantly reduced, and they are finding it very hard to source shrimp.