HCM CITY (VNS)— Pests and diseases have attacked hundreds of thousands of ha of rice nationwide and farmers have been advised to strengthen their vigilance and take timely measures to control them.
|A local farmer sprays pesticide on a rice paddy in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Dong Thap's Tan Hong District. Brown plant hoppers have attacked around 3,500ha of rice in the delta. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
In the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, the country's rice granary, more than 3,590ha of rice have been attacked by brown plant hoppers with a density of 1,000-2,000 pests per square metre and more than 9,500ha of rice have been infected with the rice blast disease, according to reports from various provinces in the region.
Le Van Da, deputy head of the Kien Giang Province's Plant Protection Sub-department, said 3,785ha of the province's current 100,000ha of rice have been impacted by pests and diseases.
This area is infected with pests like brown plant hoppers and small leaf folder, and diseases like rice blast and grain discoloration, he said.
In Ca Mau Province, which neighbours Kien Giang, brown plant hoppers have caused the yield of infected paddy fields in several communes in Tran Van Thoi District fall by 30-50 per cent, said local farmers.
Many farmers have been forced to harvest their paddy early, before the crop has ripened properly, for fear of further losses.
Inclement weather is the major reason for the increased presence of brown plant hoppers this year, according to the Ca Mau Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Brown plant hoppers attacked mostly fragrant rice varieties like OM 4900 and OM 6162 as these have low resistance against the insect, with soft stems suitable for the pests' growth, department officials said.
In the north, the small leaf folder has attacked 198,897ha of rice, according to the Plant Protection Department under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
About 152,548ha of rice in the north have also been infected by the sheath blight disease.
Brown plant hoppers and white-back plant hoppers have infected more than 23,320ha of rice.
The Plant Protection Department has ordered local authorities to closely monitor the situation and instruct farmers on prevention and control measures.
It has also advised farmers to visit their paddy fields frequently to detect the appearance and density of brown plant hoppers.
Plan protection officials at grassroots levels must strengthen inspections of paddy fields in order to promtly discover problems and support farmers in resolving them, it said. — VNS