Vietnam's gross domestic product (GDP) for this year will be much lower than last year's and also sharply below the prior estimate, as various natural disasters have pulled down agricultural, forestry and fishery production of the country, said the minister for planning and investment.

The minister Bui Quang Vinh said if such problems remain then the growth rate will fall to 5.45% in 2016 compared to the more than 6% growth registered in 2015. The National Assembly of Vietnam had projected 6.7% expansion for this year earlier.

In the first quarter of 2016, the country's growth is estimated to stay at 5.46%, down from the 6.12% growth recorded in the same period last year.

According to a report in Vietnam's official news agency VNA, the economy is dragged by a severe drought and saline intrusion.

The drought in Vietnam's central and southern area recently caused the production of rice in the first quarter of 2016 in Mekong Delta region, the country's rice bowl, to drop by 700,000 tons compared to the same period in 2015.

The growth of agriculture-forestry-fishery sector is likely to decrease 1.23% in the first quarter of 2016 year-on-year, according to statistics by the country's General Statistics Office (GSO).

The situation is so alarming that the Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has called on cabinet members to seek both long and short-term solutions to cope with the impacts of climate change, and speed up relief aid to natural disaster-stricken localities.