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“El Niño” event in Viet Nam: Agriculture, food security and livelihood need assessment in response to drought and salt water intrusion

“El Niño” event in Viet Nam: Agriculture, food security and livelihood need assessment in response to drought and salt water intrusion
Aug 2016

Against the backdrop of the worst drought in Viet Nam in 90 years - attributed to the El Niño weather event, 52 out of the 63 provinces (83 percent) have been affected by drought and 18 provinces have declared state of emergencies, as of June 2016. Coupled with impacts from the drought, in coastal areas saltwater intrusion has extended up to 90 kilometres (km) inland in some areas, leaving river water too salty for human or animal consumption or to irrigate crops and continue fishfarming production.

The recently concluded 2016 main winter/spring paddy crop, which accounts for 45 percent of annual production nationwide, was negatively affected by limited irrigation availability, following a generally weak rainy season in 2015 associated with El Niño and resulting in intensified salt-water intrusion. The Mekong River Delta, which accounts for half of winter/spring paddy output nationally, recorded the highest losses with official figures in May 2016 from the MARD pointing to a production reduction of 1.1 million tonnes year-onyear to 10 million tonnes. Although 2016 paddy production will exceed domestic requirements at national level, as the country is a net exporter of rice, in some areas the implication of these losses will be reflected at household and national levels. 

In order to further assess damage and losses in the agriculture and sub-sectors as well as estimate the impact on people’s livelihoods, especially those of vulnerable groups (i.e. women and ethnic minorities), as well as come up with necessary response interventions, a more in-depth FAO-driven assessment was carried out in May 2016.

The assessment was conducted in the three worst affected regions, the Central Highlands, South Central and Mekong Delta under the overall leadership of FAO, with support from MARD, particularly the departments of Crop Production, Livestock Production as well as Natural Disaster Prevention and Control, Viet Nam Administration of Fishery (Dfish), provincial DARDs and in partnership with the WFP, UN Women and the Viet Nam Women’s Union.

This report’s findings mainly reflect the situation in assessed areas, although additional national data and information was also used and illustrated as part of this document.

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