22 June 20 Vietnam News Source LONG AN — Mekong Delta provinces have experienced the most severe drought and saline intrusion ever in the dry season 2019-2020 but the negative impacts on agriculture production and daily life were minimised significantly thanks to effective measures, a top official has said.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường made the statement at a meeting held in the Mekong Delta province of Long An on Saturday about drought and saline intrusion prevention and control.

He said that thanks to what had been done to fight drought and salinity intrusion in the province, Việt Nam could learn good lessons for dealing with the extreme weather in the future.

Cường applauded the timely forecasting of salinity intrusion that helped agencies and farmers restructure agricultural production to match available water volume.

The Government, ministries and agencies effectively instructed localities and agencies to develop plans to tackle drought, saltwater intrusion and water shortages.

"This year, we identified challenges posed by droughts and saltwater intrusion to the Mekong Delta early," Cường said, adding that as soon as September 2019, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc met with leaders of 13 Mekong Delta provinces to discuss the issue.

The minister recalled the saline intrusion in 2016 which was described as the worst in the region in 100 years which offered both authorities and people experiences to better deal with this year's incidents.

Saline intrusion in 2016 lasted about two months, and only two communes in Bến Tre Province were not affected while this year, the saline intrusion has already lasted five months and the whole Mekong Delta region has been submerged under water.

"Groups of measures were taken," he said.

Works to store water and prevent saline intrusion were built and completed on time.

Cultivation areas were zoned, reduced and crops and cultivation times were changed so the areas affected by drought or saline intrusion was reduced.