Drought burns tons of rice in central region

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Due to a prolonged dry-spell, Vietnam's central rice production is taking a serious hit, agriculture officials said at a meeting Friday.

During the meeting, Cao Duc Phat, minister of Agriculture and Rural Development urged farmers to conserve what water they have. Phat also recommended that they consider planting crops other than rice.

"Our central provinces are facing the loss of a hundred thousand hectares of rice to drought," said Bui Ba Tong, deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

The loss amounts to around 400,000 tons of rice worth around VND2.5 trillion (US$131.7 million).

Although the summer-fall crop has already been harvested, more than 60,000 hectares of rice fields have not been planted as there's no water, Tong said.

Bui Minh Tang, director of the National Center for Hydro-meteorological Forecasting, said that June temperatures have increased 1-2 degrees Celsius, nationwide, compared to last year. 

The central region has been slammed by four heatwaves this month.

In Nghe An and Ha Tinh Provinces, the average temperatures exceeded 40 degrees Celsius during sevreal days. Rainfall was limited, both in volume and area covered, Tang said.

Tang does not predict heavy rainfall until early July.

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