Hanoi - Flooding from heavy rains over the past two weeks has severely damaged 15,000 hectares of rice paddies in far northern Vietnam, the Vietnamese press reported Monday.
The Agriculture Ministry had sent an urgent message Sunday to farmers in northern provinces to transplant seedlings to rescue their autumn rice crop if floodwaters recede before August 25, the website VietnamNet. vn reported.
If the fields remain flooded past that date, farmers would have to wait for the winter crop in October, and the government has promised food aid.
"People in the mountain areas of the north grow very little rice, so flooding like this can badly affect their livelihood," said Tran Tien Khai, an economist specializing in rice at the Fulbright Economic Training Program in Ho Chi Minh City.
Khai said the flooding would have no effect on the price of rice in the Vietnamese market. Most of Vietnam's rice, and nearly all of its export crop, is grown in the southern Mekong Delta, which remains unaffected by flooding.
Floods and landslides initially triggered by Tropical Storm Kammuri in early August killed more than 130 people and caused at least 43 million dollars in damage. Heavy rains resumed Monday, and meteorologists said they fear another round of flooding and higher water levels on northern waterways. (dpa)