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Experts predict bumper winter spring rice crop, despite weather

Vietnam News, February 27, 2004

Farmers plough the land to cultivate rice in Nghi Thuan Commune in the central province of Nghe An. — VNA/VNS Photo Lan Xuan

HA NOI — Despite unfavourable weather and water shortages, agronomists remain optimistic about the success of the winter-spring crop.

Besides successful efforts to conserve water, they cited late transplantation of rice seedlings as a guarantee of a bumper harvest.

According to the Planning and Projection Department, the northern provinces have transplanted nearly 600,000ha of seedlings, accounting for more than half the total area of the winter-spring crop, or 28 per cent lower than the figure recorded in the same period last year.

At this point in time, the department elaborated, farmers in these provinces would have finished transplanting seedlings. But due to the leap year, which falls in February this year, it said, these farmers would only complete the transplantation work before the first week of next month.

Agronomists say this is a good time for the growth of rice plants.

Nguyen Thanh Lam, deputy director of the National Agriculture Extension Centre, said: "It is very safe to transplant seedlings at this point because rice plants can grow strongly.

"We no longer have to worry about the shortage of water for some subsidiary crops because light rain has already occurred in some places," he added.

Agronomists agreed that late transplantation has not only helped avoid cold spells that used to hit the northern provinces recently it would also prevent rice plants from hot wind.

At present, 80 per cent of rice growing areas in Hong (Red) Delta provinces have been transplanted later than previous years.

About 40,000ha of the riattle drought.

Water levels in the Tien and Hau rivers are 0.25-0.35m lower than last year’s average. Water flow from the Mekong River to the delta is down nearly 45 per cent compared with averages from the same period last year.

Tuan said the winter-spring rice would not be short of water. However, if precipitation didn’t pick up for summer-autumn crop, there could be a problem, he said. — VNS

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