Agricultural production in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta has been severely hit as the rising floodwaters and high tides continue to inundate rice fields and orchards.
The season's third rice crop, normally harvested at the end of the year and thought to be as lucrative as the main winter-spring crop, is under water in most of the delta provinces.
Because rice prices are ruling high, most farmers increase the area under rice during the third crop.
Figures from provincial agriculture departments show that farmers in Dong Thap, Can Tho and Kien Giang planted much larger areas than a year ago. But the infrastructure, especially the dyke system, has proved inadequate.
The departments admitted they had been caught napping by the ferocity of the floods which also came early this year.
The dykes are designed to protect crops from the moderate flooding that occurs annually, and the unusually strong flooding has breached it at many places.
Scientist did warn authorities about this earlier, but the latter still allowed farmers to plant crops.
The agriculture sector estimates a loss of at least VND20 million (US$980) per hectare of rice in An Giang and Dong Thap and higher in case of orchards which would take at least five years to regenerate.
Since late September many orchard owners were worried about the floods which came rapidly, inundating large areas.
The high tide combined with the flooding submerged more than 1,500ha of orchards in Ben Tre and more than 1,000ha in Vinh Long.
Floodwaters broke through the embankment in Tien Giang and Hau Giang to drown thousands of hectares of orchards.The dyke along the Tien River was reinforced at a cost of VND30 billion ($1.43 million) but the waters still spilled over some parts of it.
In Ben Tre, rivers will overflow if the waters rise by a mere 2-3cm and possibly destroy more than 9,400ha of orchards. — VNS