Bird flu spreads through Mekong Delta

Animal health authorities in Soc Trang Province confirmed a bird flu infection in a flock of ducks Thursday as other local agencies suspected the disease may also have broken out in Bac Lieu. Alongside Ca Mau, Soc Trang is now the second Mekong Delta province currently afflicted by the virus. Samples taken from duck carcasses at a farm in nearby Bac Lieu Province were also taken for tests. In Soc Trang, test results from samples taken from a duck farm at Vien Binh Commune in My Xuyen District tested positive for the H5N1 bird flu virus, said Nguyen Huu Minh, deputy chief of the Provincial Department of Animal Health. Before the Tet holiday period began on January 26, more than 500 ducks from the flock of 700 had shown symptoms of the disease and began dying gradually, Minh said. The district animal health division had taken samples before destroying the animals and sprayed decontaminants in the surrounding areas, he added. Minh said the abnormally low temperatures and … [Read more...]

Avian influenza spreads in Ca Mau

A bird flu epidemic has swept through two communes in the southernmost province of Ca Mau, forcing authorities to destroy more than 3,000 ducks. An official from the provincial Bird Flu Prevention Committee said after the virus broke out in the flock belonging to Nguyen Van Dong in Khanh Binh Commune late last month, the disease spread to nine more household duck flocks in Khanh Binh and Khanh Binh Dong communes. Five out of nine hamlets in Khanh Binh have been infected, with hundreds of ducks in three Khanh Binh Dong households tested positive to the H5N1A virus. The outbreak is the first this year in Ca Mau Province. Reported by Tran Thanh Phong … [Read more...]

Worker gets public apology after police beating in Vietnam

Commune authorities in southern province of Binh Duong have publicly apologized to a construction worker who was beaten unconscious by a local police officer on October 26. Construction worker Truong Cong Toan has received a public apology from commune authorities in Binh Duong Province after a local policeman beat him up during questioning on October 26. The People's Committee of Khanh Binh Commune in the province's Tan Uyen District apologized officially on December 2nd to Truong Cong Toan, a 40-year-old Nghe An native. Toan had earlier said in a complaint that he and other workers at a construction site in Khanh Binh Commune were involved in a fight on October 26 arising from certain misunderstandings. The commune's police arrived at the place soon after and told all the workers to come to the station and file a report on the incident. At the station, Toan said, he was beaten by a police official and another man not wearing a police uniform. During the beating, … [Read more...]

A potentially deadly bridge in Khanh Hoa

>> Khanh Hoa's deadly bridges A bridge in the central province of Khanh Hoa has become dilapidated to the point where it is a serious risk to the community who use it. Built in 1991, the bridge in Ba Cang Village, Khanh Hiep Commune, Khanh Vinh District, is now just a thin plank crossing Cho River. Despite the danger, the people of Ba Cang have no choice but to use the bridge, as it is the only way to cross the river. Much of the bridge was built using the branches of the particular tree called lo o (Bambusa procera), which are held together with wires. When repairs are needed, locals often replace the old branches with new ones. But a number of large gaps remain. Cao Minh Tuan, Chairman of Khanh Hiep Commune, said, "I'm extremely worried about the safety of the community. We want to build a new bridge, but we simply lack funds. The bridge has been the cause of many accidents and injuries. Still villagers have no choice but to use it." Ba Cang Village has 194 households, most … [Read more...]

Khanh Hoa’s deadly bridges

Many suspension bridges, which have been seriously degraded, are threatening lives of people in Khanh Vinh district, central Khanh Hoa Province. People going on the bridge face dangers A suspension bridge crossing over Cho River in Khanh Binh Commune, put into operation in 2007, is now in very bad condition. Many planks on the bridge surface have rotted and some even disappeared, creating holes of 0.5m-2m long each. People must go along the bridge's edge and many of them stumble on holes, having their bodies injured and vehicles broken. To prevent the hazards, the commune authority banned traffic on the bridge until the flood season comes. However, the damage is only getting worse and people are at risk. Nguyen Van Tranh, Chairman of Khanh Vinh People's Committee, said up to eight among the 12 suspension bridges in the district now need to be upgraded. The district authority plans to assign a task force to survey and outline cost estimates for the bridge construction. Planks on the … [Read more...]

Farmers’ increased holdings sees Delta rice farming develop

Together with the strong growth in rice output, increasing land acquisition by farmers in the Mekong Delta has helped boost agriculture, the Southern Institute of Social Sciences said. A rice field in the Mekong Delta, where acquisition of land by farmers has shot up in recent years, giving a shot in the arm to agriculture (Photo: bantinthitruong) In 1994 in the Mekong Delta, the number of farmers owning three to five hectares accounted for 3.65 percent and the numbers of those having over five hectares was 0.7 percent. Four years later the numbers had surged to 30.32 percent and 12.65 percent and they continue to rise, particularly in Dong Thap Muoi (known as the Plain of Reeds), the Long Xuyen quadrangle, and the Ca Mau peninsula. Kien Giang Province has more than 7,500 farmers owning five hectares or more, with 5,000 growing crops and the rest being aquaculturists. In An Giang Province the most prominent among the top landowners is Nguyen Huu Duc, of Thoai Son District. A laborer … [Read more...]

‘Fake’ rice seeds may lower crops

'Fake' rice seeds may lower crops (16-05-2009) CA MAU — Several farmers in the southernmost province of Ca Mau in the Mekong Delta are afraid that the poor-quality rice seeds they have bought could exact a heavy toll on the coming rice crop. In the province's Khanh Binh Commune in Tran Van Thoi District, farmers were very upset after discovering a shop selling the low-quality rice seeds by putting them in packs labelled Can Tho Agricultural Seedlings Centre. Not happy Even though the shop was fined VND7 million, asked to destroy the fake packaging and compensate farmers, residents are not appeased. Nguyen Cao Huynh, owner of Huynh Huong rice seeds agency who uncovered the shop's fraud, said relevant authorities needed to clarify where the fake rice seeds came from, otherwise farmers could continue to be cheated. Locals said the fake or poor-quality rice seed could help sellers earn profits of VND4,500 ($0.26) for each kilo, but the damage incurred by farmers could not be … [Read more...]

Minh Tien JSC Inaugurates New Factory

Minh Tien Joint-stock Company on January 1 officially inaugurated Minh Tien Export-Import Manufacturing and Trading Joint-stock Company specialising in producing, processing, exporting and importing wooden products and materials, which is located at Hamlet 3A, Khanh Binh Commune, Tan Uyen Precinct, Binh Duong Province. The new Company owns five workshops with the capacity of 40 containers a week that are equipped with modern machinery and technologies from the UK, United States, and Taiwan in conformity with ISO 9001 - 2000, ISO 1400 (International Standard of Environment Safety), and TQM (Total Quality Management System). Besides, the Company also owns an experienced managerial staff and a labour force of more than 500 high-skilled and professionally trained workers. The Company has proven its potential competitiveness by signing and taking big orders of USD2 million. At present, the Company mainly focuses on the local market and exports to such markets as Japan, the United States, … [Read more...]

Bird flu returns to Ca Mau village

Bird flu returns to Ca Mau village (02-02-2009) HA NOI — Bird flu re-emerged in a village in the southernmost province of Ca Mau last Thursday, but local officials said yesterday it had been brought under control. More than 460 unvaccinated ducks tested positive for the H5N1 virus on Friday, one day after being found dead on a farm in Rach Bao Village in Tran Van Thoi District's Khanh Binh Commune. The head of the district agricultural department, Su Van Minh, told Viet Nam News yesterday that local veterinary staff promptly culled the infected birds and disinfected the surrounding areas to keep the lethal virus from spreading to other farms. Minh said the infected ducks, mostly weighing over a kilo, hadn't been vaccinated. "We therefore ordered the village and commune to set up inspection teams to investigate the problem and innoculate the unvaccinated fowl," he said. "This year's cold weather has also favoured the virus to mature," he added. Minh, who is also deputy … [Read more...]

Fuel smuggling in Mekong Delta province thrives

Since the beginning of this year fuel smuggling from the Mekong Delta province of An Giang to Vietnam's neighbor Cambodia has flourished, report sources from provincial customs offices. The increase in smuggling is because a liter of gasoline sells for 7,000 Vietnamese dongs (VND) higher in Cambodia than in Vietnam and a liter of diesel 4,000 VND higher, according to customs officers. One US dollar is equivalent to about 15,750 VND. Smugglers often illegally transport fuel to Cambodia from An Giang by boats via a border river linking the two areas, customs officers revealed. Each day, around 50 boats carrying smuggled gasoline slip across the border from midnight to early morning. Over the last eight months, thousands of liters of fuel have been seized through anti-smuggling operations carried out by An Giang customs officers and border police, according to reports. One night recently Khanh Binh Commune border police said they had prevented 10 motorbikes from … [Read more...]

Bac Lieu scrambles to stamp out bird flu

A top Bac Lieu Province leader Wednesday instructed authorities to cull ducks and chickens showing symptoms of bird flu without waiting for test results. Animal health officials in Bac Lieu Province cull a flock of ducks with bird flu in Phuoc G Long District’s Vinh Phu Dong Commune At an emergency meeting held in the southern province, People’s Committee Deputy Chairman Pham Hoang Be also ordered officials to take other measures to control the disease - including vaccination, spraying disinfectants, and setting up 24-hour checkpoints to monitor the transport of poultry. Chief of the Animal Heath Department, Lam Tri Thong, said the H5N1 strain of bird flu virus could spread to other areas in the coming days. The practice of letting ducks range freely in paddies and waterways is common in a province full of canals and would facilitate the spread of the disease, he pointed out. By Wednesday, local authorities had culled 3,185 birds in Phuoc Long and Long Duc … [Read more...]

Huge losses leave shrimp ponds barren

Well into the shrimp season, many Mekong Delta farmers are undecided if they should persist with the crustaceans or switch to other crops. The diffidence stems out of huge losses suffered last year as a result of falling shrimp prices and rising shrimp-feed costs. Tran Tan Luc of Hoa Tu 1 Commune in Soc Trang Province says he lost tens of millions of dong on his 1.5-hectare shrimp pond last year, and he is afraid to venture into the once lucrative cash crop again. “It is not just me; most of the shrimp farmers here have yet to prepare for the new season, waiting for higher prices for the black tiger shrimp and lower prices for shrimp feed,” he says. The shrimp season starts in February and ends in November or December. Shrimp farmers can harvest their crop after 4-5 months of breeding. Though tiger shrimps are now bought at out-of-season prices of VND120,000 and VND140,000 (US$7- $8) per kilogram and input costs are about VND90,000 ($5), farmers are still wary, … [Read more...]

Senior official suspended in protected forestland scam

A senior official in the southern province of Ca Mau Tuesday received a three-month suspension for illegally handing over protected forest areas to local officials and their relatives to build houses and farm shrimp. A section of Dam Doi Protective Forest in the southern province of Ca Mau has been destroyed to breed shrimp. The suspension of Dam Doi District People’s Committee Vice Chairman Tran Xuan Khuya was announced by Ca Mau People’s Committee Vice Chairman Nguyen Xuan Hong. Khuya was accused of violating the law in issuing two decisions on handing over 65.66 hectares in Dam Doi Forest Reserve to 14 individuals and the forest management board’s labor union. An inspection by the Ca Mau People’s Council last month found 50 percent of the area had been devastated. Some individuals had made houses and dug ponds to breed shrimp. Hong said the committee was looking at the extent of Khuya’s involvement in the case and considering a review of the management … [Read more...]

Ca Mau braces for forest fires

More than 7,200 hectares of forest in the southernmost province of Ca Mau is suffering a drought and facing a high risk of fires, the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said Sunday. Most prone to fires are 1,587 hectares in the Trem River area, 1,360 hectares in the U Minh Ha Forest National Park and Khanh Binh Tay Bac Commune in Tran Van Thoi District. Authorities in the province say they are taking urgent measures to prevent and fight possible fires. The dike system around the forest to store water is being strengthened, watch posts have been built and investments are being made in communication and fire-fighting facilities. Reported by Tran Thanh Phong … [Read more...]

Blaze at package firm causes $1.14 million damage

A big fire broke out Saturday at Minh Toan Packages Producing Company in Tan Thanh Commune of southern Bac Lieu Province's Gia Rai District, causing property damage estimated at about VND20 billion (US$1.14 million). It took around 100 people and six fire trucks more than four hours to control the blaze. Tan Thanh Commune Party's Committee Chairman Do Truong Lam said, "Police, border guards and more than 30 workers of the company tried to put out the fire; but strong winds and inflammable materials in the factory made their efforts ineffective." Thirty fire fighters from Bac Lieu Province's Fire Department with three fire trucks and 21 fire fighters with another three fire trucks came to the scene; but were hampered by the narrow road and a shortage of water. No one was injured in the fire. Reported by Tran Thanh Phong … [Read more...]

Court apologizes for erroneous conviction

A district People’s Court in the Mekong Delta officially apologized to Nguyen Phuoc Luong Thursday for wrongly convicting him of battery in 2007. Luong was found guilty by the Gia Rai District People’s Court in Bac Lieu Province in July, 2007 and sentenced to two years’ probation. But in November that year, an appellate court in Bac Lieu decided to cancel the decision of the lower court and ask for further investigations. On June 28, 2008, Gia Rai District People’s Procuracy halted the investigation and canceled the charges due to a lack of evidence against Luong. The district People’s Court is now in talks with Luong about compensation for the erroneous conviction. Reported by Tran Thanh Phong … [Read more...]

Germany aids Mekong environmental project

The German government has granted 1.76 million euro (US$2.28 million) to an ecological project in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu, a German official said Thursday. The 2009-2011 project, “Sustainable Management of the Bac Lieu Coastal Forest Ecosystem,” aims to improve the ecological functions of the area’s forests and create more stable livelihoods for people living along the coast. Germany’s Federal Environment Deputy Minister Astrid Klug said the German government was very concerned about environmental protection and climate change and that Vietnam is one of the countries most seriously affected by the global phenomenon. Reported by Tran Thanh Phong … [Read more...]

Workers scrimp as shrimp farmers abstain

A shortage of shrimp in processing factories across the Mekong Delta have left thousands of workers unemployed and others looking for extra jobs to augment measly incomes. A working shift at the Nigico seafood company in the Mekong Delta’s Bac Lieu Province. For around two months, Nguyen Thi Lan has not been shelling shrimp, which would have earned her VND1.5 million (US$86) a month. The Viet Cuong Seafood Processing Import Export Joint-Stock Company in Bac Lieu Province could not source enough of the crustaceans and laid her off. “My husband and I have been struggling to make a living,” Lan says. Workers at seafood processing companies get paid according to the amount of work they have done, and many have seen their incomes fall from around VND2.5 million ($143) a month to VND500,000 ($29). “It’s too little for me to feed my family,” says Le Thi Lam, employee of the Ca Mau Seafood Import â€" Export and Processing Company (Camimex) in Ca Mau … [Read more...]

Work begins on Ca Mau bridge

Work began Monday on a bridge that links Cai Nuoc and Nam Can districts in the southernmost province of Ca Mau. The bridge is part of the Ho Chi Minh Road that will run more than 3,000 kilometers between northern Cao Bang Province and Ca Mau when the mammoth project is completed. The 671-meter-long Dam Cung Bridge will cost VND351 billion (US$20 million) to build, and is set to be completed within two years. It is the part of the first package of the road project, which covers a 58.7 kilometer section in Ca Mau. Work on the section is expected to be completed by the end of 2011 at a total cost of VND3.9 trillion ($223 million). Construction of the Dam Cung Bridge was kicked off by the Ca Mau provincial government, the Ministry of Transport and the Ho Chi Minh road project management board. Reported by Tran Thanh Phong … [Read more...]

Six face forgery charges

Southern Bac Lieu Province's investigative police Tuesday recommended charges against six people allegedly involved in making false documents for others to go abroad. Four of the accused - Tran Kinh Huong, Vo Lan Chi, Ngo Thi Hanh and Tran Van Can - are from Gia Rai District. The other two, Nguyen Thi Nho and Nguyen Van Truyen, are from central Quang Binh Province. According to an initial investigation, the accused prepared 10 sets of false documents to allow 20 people to travel to Australia to work. Huong received VND28 million (US$1,600) for each set of documents and shared the money with the others, police said. A set of documents would allow two people to travel. Investigations are continuing. Reported by Tran Thanh Phong … [Read more...]