In the floodplains of the upper Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam, the regular seasonal monsoon floods, lasting from late July until November, are replenishing the soil, rejuvenating the river ecosystems, and allowing farmers like Nguyen Van Khen to boost incomes through flood-based agriculture.
But floods could quickly turn into a problem if they get stronger than expected or go off cycle. Heavy flooding could wipe out farming areas overnight.
In the upper Mekong Delta, such irregularity comes in more often, prompting farmers to rethink their livelihood strategy. This is predicted to get worse with climate change.
During a recent trip to the Mekong Delta, we witnessed how a World Bank-financed project has significantly strengthened farmers’ ability to cope with the new reality. Embankments supported by the project help a large farming area withstand the floods while capturing the rich floodwater to nourish the crop.
The urgency of scaling up similar initiatives is undeniable as the Mekong Delta is beset by a host of environmental challenges.