Category Archives: Issue: Drought

In the News: Thailand’s rice production to take a battering from drought as water crisis looms

BANGKOK — The world’s largest rice exporter, Thailand, is facing major losses to its next crop of rice and a worsening water crisis because of the worst drought in nearly two decades.

Chanchai Rakthananon, president of the Thai Rice Mills Association, said Tuesday that rice output for the next crop cycle, ending in August, could fall to as little as two million tons from a previously forecast five million tons.

“It didn’t rain when it needed to rain,” said Angsumal Sunalai, director general of the Thai Meteorological Department. He blamed global climate change for the problem.

Chalit Damroengsak, director general of the Royal Irrigation Department, said there would normally be three to four monsoon storms a year during the annual rainy season, “but farmers will be lucky if there is one this year.”

Thailand produces about 20 million tons of rice annually in two to four crop cycles, exporting about 9 million metric tons and consuming the same amount.

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In the News: Drought Drops Mekong River to 50-Year Low, Affects Farmers and Trade

A severe drought in Southeast Asia and southern China has caused the Mekong River to drop to a 50-year low. In Thailand, trade on the river has dried up and farmers say they do not have enough water for their crops. Many blame China’s dams upstream but experts say the dams may not be the problem.

A group of water experts from the Chiangsaen water monitoring station set out by boat on the Mekong River.

They lower a special pole off the side of the boat that bounces sonar off the riverbed, allowing them to accurately check the water level.

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Drought Drops Mekong River to 50-Year Low, Affects Farmers and Trade

Daniel Schearf | Chiangrai province, Thailand 30 March 2010
A farmer looks at cows in a dry rice field in Thailand’s Yasothorn province
Photo: AP

A farmer looks at cows in a dry rice field in Thailand’s Yasothorn province, northeast of Bangkok (File)
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A severe drought in Southeast Asia and southern China has caused the Mekong River to drop to a 50-year low. In Thailand, trade on the river has dried up and farmers say they do not have enough water for their crops. Many blame China’s dams upstream but experts say the dams may not be the problem.

A group of water experts from the Chiangsaen water monitoring station set out by boat on the Mekong River.

They lower a special pole off the side of the boat that bounces sonar off the riverbed, allowing them to accurately check the water level.

Nappon Nampon says he has been checking water levels on the Mekong for 36 years and this year is the lowest he has ever seen it.

Read the full story at VOA News