Officials in Ben Tre Province in southern Vietnam have decided to cancel an annual fruit fest as severe drought and prolonged salt intrusion have badly affected local harvests.
The People’s Committee of Ben Tre has said that the 2016 Delicious-Safe Fruit Festival will not be organized, as proposed by the Cho Lach District People’s Committee.
The annual fruit festival was scheduled to kick off on June 9, but local authorities have agreed to halt it due to extreme weather conditions.
Fruit harvests have been adversely affected by extreme heat and salinization, making it difficult to offer high-quality products at the event, officials in the district said, when suggesting the festival be scrapped.
About 8,000 hectares worth of plantations have been salinized, 2,000 hectares of fruit trees ravaged, and over 350,000 saplings withered during the period, resulting in damage worth around VND32 billion (US$1.435 million), local officials said, adding that other fruit specialties of the province, including mangosteen and durian, have also been severely destroyed by the current water shortage, meaning growers have been unable to harvest.
Ornamental plants and flowers have also withered and died due to salt intrusion, leaving them unfit to be showcased at the fest, authorities said, noting that farmers would not bring their produce to the event while they were trying to save the plants from drought and saline penetration.
Ben Tre is one of the ‘fruit kingdoms’ in the Mekong Delta because of its vast areas of plantations.
The most famous types of fruit grown in the location include grapefruit, durian, mango, rambutan, jackfruit and mangosteen. All have been widely consumed domestically, as well as being exported all over the world.
Salt water has infiltrated rivers and ponds near fruit gardens in Ben Tre and its neighbor Tien Giang, ravaging plants and produce.