Lacking long term vision
Hearing about the climate changes, orchards’ owners have been trying to do anything they can to rescue themselves. Tran Van Dong, a farmer in My Hiep commune of Cao Lanh City in Dong Thap province, tried to re-plant the 500 square meter of guava orchard which was inundated in the floods.
Right in 2000 - 2001, when seeing the water level rising and falling unexpectedly, Dong tried to build embankment to prevent the orchard from the flood. However, he could not do anything in the latest flood which killed 1/3 of the guava plants.
Meanwhile, gardeners in Lai Vung district lost 372 hectares of orchards in the flood.
It is necessary to draw up long term plants to get adapted to the climate changes, because not only in Dong Thap, but in the whole Mekong Delta region, the agricultural production is diversified: rice, farm produce, fruit alternate with aquaculture crops. Besides, local authorities and residents also have to take actions to protect the natural aquatic resources which have become depleted.
However, to date, local authorities and scientists still have not agreed on how to build embankments for every agricultural production sector. As a result, farmers have to take care themselves for their rice fields and orchards and response to the floods.
Meanwhile, if going along the Tien River, one can see a lot of lighters collecting sand. Professor Le Trinh, Chair of the association on assessing the impacts on the environment, affirmed that the sand exploitation is the reason behind the river flow changes, which cause serious consequences in the flood season.
Nevertheless, no state management agency has put forward any measures to settle the problem. Local authorities pour money every year to build embankments every year, but the river bed still has been getting deeper.
Dang Ngoc Loi, Deputy Director of the Dong Thap provincial Department for Agriculture and Rural Development, said that in 2010, the local authorities spent 60 billion dong to build two kilometers of embankments. Meanwhile, he has estimated that the sum of money needed this year would be much higher.
What to do?
Professor Nguyen Hoang Tri, Secretary General of the National Committee of the Man and Biosphere Program of UNESCO, said that “every man is for himself,” therefore, local authorities in the Mekong Delta have not cooperated in the battle to get adapted to the climate changes, even though they know that this is the biggest sufferer in the Mekong River areas.
Vietnam’s UNESCO Committee has been trying to persuade three provinces of Ben Tre, Tra Vinh and Soc Trang to cooperate to form up a world’s biosphere reserve. If this is recognized by UNESCO, it would make intervention in the construction of the dam on the Mekong riverhead which would be able to protect the Vietnamese Mekong Delta region from the flood or drought.
However, except Ben Tre province, Tra Vinh and Soc Trang prove to keep indifferent to the idea.
In related news, on December 28, WWF Vietnam, in cooperation with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry VCCI held a forum on green businesses getting adapted to the climate change in the Mekong Delta.
Established in November 2011, the Mekong Delta Green Business Forum commits to organize production in a harmonization with the environment protection.