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Central Highlands Coffee Farmers on Tenterhooks as Lack of Rainfall Dries Region

While the Mekong Delta struggles through a historic drought, the Central Highlands is dealing with its own lack of rainfall.

Saigon Giai Phong reports that coffee trees cover 620,000 hectares in Dak Lak, Lam Dong and Dak Nong provinces, where unusually dry weather has caused lakes and rivers vital for watering crops to shrink.

A few showers have reached the region in recent days, but were too small to have an impact.

Nguyen Hoai Duong, director of the Dak Lak Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, told the news source that 8,949 hectares of crops in the province are currently impacted by drought. Additionally, numerous reservoirs are below 35% of designed capacity, and 64 have run completely dry.

A number of particularly important large reservoirs are barely 30% full as well.

In Dak Nong, a major drought is expected to hit 17,068 hectares of coffee trees outside of irrigation projects. Southern Lam Dong Province is facing similar conditions.

To try and cope, coffee farmers have had to drill deep wells and dig ponds, or use high-powered pumps where surface water can be found, but these are not always reliable solutions.

Bach Xuan Mau, a farmer in Dak Nong, told the news source that he spent over VND50 million digging a pond and drilling a well, but still could not access any water.

If this continues, coffee trees will become less productive, hurting a key part of the Central Highlands' economy.

[Photo via Bao Moi]

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