Global Food and Water Crises Latest Strategic Analysis Paper

Mekong Delta: Land Subsidence threatens Vietnam's "food packaging"

Mekong Delta: Land Subsidence threatens Vietnam's "food packaging"

Key factors

  • Mekong delta is probably the most agriculturally productive area in Vietnam. A lot of the nation's rice, aquaculture and fruit manufacturing is situated there
  • Vietnam is the world's second largest rice exporter. Mekong Delta produces sufficient food for almost 200 million individuals, and a big discount in agricultural production would affect international food security.
  • Unsustainable agricultural practices, rising sea levels, ground hazards, dam development on the Mekong River The salinity of soil and water threatens to scale back agricultural productiveness in the region
  • Most of those challenges are past Vietnam's control. Decreasing groundwater use within the delta space is the best choice.


Mekong Delta, situated in southern Vietnam, is one among Southeast Asia's most necessary food manufacturing areas. It is a rising menace mixed with: increased demand for water in other sectors of the financial system; Mon-waves; sea ​​degree rise; and salinity. Because the delta produces sufficient food for almost 200 million individuals, any vital discount in agricultural manufacturing would scale back international food safety


Over the past 20 years, Vietnam has moved from a low to middle revenue country. Its GDP has risen on common by 6.4 per cent during this era. Loads of water assets have helped to spice up economic improvement – with more than four million hectares of water and hydropower crops, water has virtually 40% of its electricity. Vietnam has ambitions to develop into a high-income nation by 2035, but this aim is troublesome to realize until it turns into extra useful resource efficient and adapts to the anticipated modifications within the Mekong River

Mekong delta is predicted to continue to play an necessary position in financial improvement. Regardless of having solely 12% of the nation's mass and about 20% of its population, it is Vietnam's most efficient agricultural area. About half of the nation's rice, 65% of aquaculture and 70% of its fruit are grown there. Most of those products are exported and in 2017, exports of agricultural merchandise from Vietnam acquired $ 37 billion ($ 52.8 billion), almost 20 % of GDP. As Vietnam's second largest rice exporter, it is considered one of South East Asia's most essential meals production areas. Nevertheless, Delta has confronted four major challenges that threaten to undermine its agricultural sector: unsustainable agricultural practices; sea ​​degree rise and soil degradation; dam development in Mekong; and increased salt and water salinity

A few of these challenges are more fast than others. For instance, salting and unsustainable farming practices have begun to detect results on the world. The rise in sea degree and the decrease in water and sediment stream, in all probability because of the development of ditches and sand extraction, are more likely to be gradual.

Vietnam has lengthy been working towards "rice first" Agricultural Policy Mekong Delta, which has helped it rework the delta into the nation's most essential rice-growing area. Farmers develop three rice crops per yr as an alternative of conventional one or two. Delta Paddy Fields persistently produce about 25 million tonnes of rice, of which no less than half have been exported. Exports from the area account for about 15% of world marketed rice. Nevertheless, attaching this rice production will increase the danger of pests and illnesses, reduces the soil of nutrients and increases the oblique export of water ("virtual water"). Soil vitamins are more and more being changed by fertilizers and other soil modifications, however it is in all probability solely a short lived correction. Vietnamese farmers use virtually twice as much fertilizer as their counterparts in Southeast Asia. Some predictions recommend that if rice cultivation continues at present ranges and with the identical fertilizer software, robust soil degradation can occur over the subsequent 20-25 years. This is able to in all probability lead to greater costs for rice producers and probably a reduction in manufacturing.

Water demand can also be growing across the nation. It is predicted that if nothing modifications, 16 out of the 5 Vietnamese river basins are more likely to dry up by 2030. Agriculture should take water safety measures to ensure that it may possibly forestall water demand from growing in the industrial and municipal sectors. There are many opportunities to realize these savings, because the nation's water productiveness is low in comparison with the world average. Vietnam produces solely $ 2.37 ($ 3.38) of GDP for each 1,000 liters when used, in comparison with a worldwide common of $ 19.42 ($ 27.70).

The rise in sea degree might trigger another drawback for rice manufacturing in the region, however it is uncertain that it’ll trigger vital reductions within the close to future. The ocean rises lower than one centimeter per yr (nevertheless, it ought to be famous that a lot of the delta is one or two meters above sea degree). Nevertheless, this amount is predicted to extend over time, and it’s possible that sedimentation will proceed to decrease. If this have been to occur, it’s attainable that the ocean degree rise of 30 centimeters might take place in the midst of the century. That is more likely to lead to the disappearance of almost 200,000 hectares of land used for rice cultivation. In Vietnam, rice is produced in an area of ​​8 million hectares with 2.5 million hectares within the delta area. Such a loss may be thought-about irrelevant. Nevertheless, these 200,000 hectares are very fertile and extra productive than the remainder of the country. It might be a mistake to assume that their loss would only affect the food security of particular person households or communities. Virtually 40 % of Delta is in peril of being flooded by the top of this century. If this have been to occur, tens of tens of millions of individuals must be moved, and the lack of agricultural land would have far-reaching effects, which might additionally prolong to nations that export Vietnamese rice.

– third of the flowing water from Vietnam originates outdoors its borders. Most of this water is subsequently outdoors the direct administration of the nation and is uncovered to upstream activities. China has built 11 hydropower crops in Mekong and plans to construct one other 9 to 2030. Two are inbuilt Laos and China continues to be financing 9, and plans to purchase most of its electricity. At the least 160 dams are built, underneath development or planned in the river tributaries. Collectively, these dams, if built, will injury fishing and stop the sediment from flowing downstream. It’s expected that by 2040 as much as 97% of the sediment normally operating alongside the size of the river might remain behind the partitions of the dam. The official report on the potential for building upstream dams in Vietnamese agriculture argued that if all deliberate dams have been built, it might be conservative to estimate that the annual losses incurred by the Vietnamese fisheries and agriculture sector would exceed $ 760 million per yr. Mekong Delta misplaced over 500 hectares of coastal land in 2003–2012. The amount of abrasion has since elevated and the world is allegedly dropping 300 hectares of land yearly. Dams and tanks constructed along the river forestall the move of sediment downstream, while the extraction of sand from the underside of the river for development functions additionally reduces the load on the sediment. The sediment strengthens the delta by changing a substance that has deteriorated during high water stream and replenishes the soil vitamins utilized in rice manufacturing. Continuous provide of sediments is important for combating coastal erosion and supporting agricultural manufacturing in the region.

Beneath normal circumstances, mangroves mitigate the consequences of sea degree rise by adhering to sediments flowing into the sea. The Mekong Delta has been removed from the good mangroves because the 1970s to supply wooden for charcoal and the development business; some have been additionally empty to make room for shrimp and aquaculture. Mangroves assist scale back coastal erosion brought on by waves and floods, but it is uncertain because of decreased sediment circulate that restoration of mangrove zones will assist to compensate for the lack of coastal areas.

Critical droughts in 1998, In 2010 and 2015, water flows within the Mekong River decreased. Lowered water availability will drive regional water users to tug bigger amounts of water than normal. This, in turn, reduces the amount of water flowing into the mouth of the river and causes the sea water to penetrate additional inland (over the past drought it penetrated up to 90 kilometers inland). The salt content of Delta water has been reported to happen a lot – even through the years, when the supply of water is comparatively normal – that some farmers at the moment are talking about "salty season". Build up and using chairs can lead to comparable circumstances.

The cause of soil injury is just not clear, however it is in all probability because of the elevated use of groundwater in the Mekong Delta space over the previous 25 years. years. Over the previous 20 years, groundwater extraction has grown fourfold. This extraction proportion has resulted within the water table falling in some locations up to 20 meters, which led to the land sinking up to 18 cm. The land continues to sink in the delta space at a velocity of 1-3 centimeters per yr. The increased use of groundwater is partly because of the decrease availability of surface waters and the penetration of salt water.

As a result of sediment decline is probably resulting from dam development at the prime of Mekong, China and Laos, there’s little that Vietnam can do to revive these flows. A lot of the dams close to the rivers are designed to seize the sediment and stop it from accumulating in dams which might be still downstream. Decreasing groundwater use, slower delta drainage would scale back the urgent menace to it and its agricultural manufacturing.