|Farmers in An Duong Town, Hai Phong City prepare rice seedlings for transplanting. Experts expect dry weather and diseases to affect the quality and quantity of yields from the winter-spring crop in northern provinces. — VNA/VNS Photo Lam Khanh
HA NOI (VNS) — Dry weather and diseases could affect the quality and quantity of northern provinces' rice yields, agricultural experts warned at a conference in Ha Noi on Monday.
Tran Xuan Dinh, deputy head of the Department of Cultivation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said dry weather during the 2014-2015 winter-spring crop caused rice seeds to open early, exposing them to harmful cold weather.
Experts at the conference argued that farmers needed to change the varieties of rice they're growing to better cope with dry weather. Using cultivation technology, fertiliser and stable water supplies could help achieve maximum productivity, he said.
The plants were also more likely to catch diseases in unseasonably hot weather, Dinh said. The average temperature during this year's crop is 0.5-1.5 degrees Celcius higher than last year's, and it's likely to continue rising.
Localities should prepare to respond to any disease outbreaks, said Ngo Tien Dung, deputy head of the ministry's Department of Plant Protection.
Local authorities need to pay close attention to rice growth and monitor pest quantities to minimise the weather's negative effects, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh said.
The total area being cultivated in the northern region is 1.14 million hectares, down 22,000 hectares from the 2013-2014 winter-spring crop. — VNS