VIETNAM NEW- HCM CITY –  Authorities in the Mekong Delta provinces have helped locals cope with the prolonged drought and salinity in rivers, minimising the losses caused by the twin disasters.In Kiên Giang Province, they are using 20 pumps to move saltwater out of the Rạch Gía–Long Xuyên and Ông Hiển canals, trying to pump the salt water into the sea so that fresh water can flow from upstream into rivers and canals supplying Rạch Gía City.Nguyễn Hữu Hoài Phương, director of the Kiên Giang Water Supply and Drainage Co., said barges are used to carry freshwater, which is then pumped into a reservoir used by the company’s water supply system.On Sunday 15,000cu.m of fresh water was pumped.“With this water, Kiên Giang’s water pumping station can operate at 65 per cent of capacity,” Phương said.In addition, the company has dug three wells to draw more water for people’s daily needs.In Cà Mau Province, the chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, Nguyễn Tiến Hải, has instructed relevant agencies and authorities at district and commune levels to provide financial support to paddy farmers whose fields have been damaged.The prolonged drought has damaged over 51,000ha of paddy fields, of which 33,000ha have been damaged by over 70 per cent.It has affected the livelihoods of 36,000 rice farmers.Families who suffered 30-70 per cent damage are receiving relief of VNĐ1 million (US$44) per hectare of paddy in case of normal seeds and VNĐ1.5 million ($66) in case of hybrid seeds.The total compensation has added up to nearly VNĐ90 billion, of which 70 per cent will come from the Government, 20 per cent from the province and 10 per cent from the districts.The number of households affected by the natural disasters and the area damaged are on the rise because the drought is on-going, Cà Mau authorities said.In Hậu Giang Province, if the seawater intrusion into rivers lasts until the end of May, an additional 3,000ha of summer-autumn paddy could be destroyed and farmers in many districts will not be able to farm another 6,000ha (of the summer-autumn crop).If the salinity continues until June, farmers will not be able to grow the year’s third rice crop (of 2016), while traditional crafts (such as water hyacinth knitting) will be suspended due to lack of raw materials.The losses caused by the seawater intrusion in Hậu Giang could amount to VNĐ150 billion (US$6.7 million), according to the province’s People’s Committee.In early May, the provincial authorities measured salinity in Vị Thanh Town, Long Mỹ and Vị Thuỷ districts, and Long Mỹ Town, and found them ranging between 0.2 per cent and 1.78 per cent.Provincial authorities have stepped up forecasts about salinity, built embankments and dredged canals to keep out saltwater and store fresh water for people’s daily needsMeanwhile, groundwater levels in Bạc Liêu Province are over two metres lower than last year, causing wells to dry up and posing difficulties for production and people’s daily activities, according to the Bạc Liêu Centre for Clean Water and Rural Environmental Sanitation for Rural Areas.Nguyễn Thị Mai, a resident of Hồng Dân District’s Ninh Hoà Commune, said a 0.5ha paddy field planted by her family over a month ago has lacked irrigation with canals and wells drying up. “We hope there will be rain soon to save our paddy field.”Lương Ngọc Lân, director of the Bạc Liêu Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, has urged relevant agencies to take measures to cope with the problems, like supplying water for residents’ daily needs.But his department has advised farmers not to plant crops and breed shrimp now, telling them to instead wait for rains.The provincial administration has also petitioned the Government for help to enable local residents to stabilise their production and daily activities. — VNSMekong Delta drought to be addressed at MDEC 2016Integration and sustainable development in Mekong Delta region will be the main topic for the Mekong Delta Economic Cooperation Forum held in Hậu Giang Province between July 11 – 15.During a meeting yesterday about the forum, Nguyễn Phong Quang, deputy head of South Western Steering Committee, saidthe forum theme would be “Mekong Delta – Active Integration and Sustainable Development”.The MDEC Forum aims to promote the potential and strengths of the Mekong Delta region and improve economic cooperation towards sustainable development and investment attraction. Workshops on credit in favor of socio-economic development and on technological applications for enterprises in value chains will also be held.Of note, Quang approved the Hậu Giang Province’s proposal to organise a conference about the effects of drought and salinity intrusion in the delta and solutions to deal with the disaster.The forum also targets enhancing cooperation with foreign countries, and with countries that have an interest in the management and use of natural resources of the Mekong River.It will also promote trade cooperation, investment promotion and tourism. — VNSRead more at: finds salt tolerance gene in soybeanCrop models underestimate climate change impact on global rice productionCoffee farmers to brew successNOTICEVietnam Education Foundation (VEF)Scholarships available for Ph.D.-level studies in rice sciencePHONE BOOKDirectorateInternational Cooperation and SciencesAdministration and FinancePlant biotechnology, Physiology – Biochemistry and Postharvest technologyAgronomyHorticulture and High – tech AgricultureAnimal Feeding CropsInbrid rice Research and Development centerLegumes research and Development centerRoot and Tuber crops research and development centerLINKS                             Links