|Farmers in southern Kiên Giang Province struggle to catch rats on fields. — Photo vov.vn|
MEKONG DELTA — The late arrival of floods in the Mekong Delta provinces this year has been blamed on a major attack by rats on crops there.
Normally, the floods hit the region in late July and early August but in the last few years, they have been either arriving much later or not at all.
Lê Quốc Cường, head of the southern plantation protection centre under the agriculture and rural development ministry’s plantation protection department, said thousands of hectares of rice crops in southern provinces such as Bạc Liêu, Sóc Trăng, An Giang and Bến Tre, besides Kiên Giang saw a drop in productivity in the last two seasons because of rats.
Dr Lê Văn Bảnh, former director of the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta Rice Research Institute, said the Mekong Delta provinces experienced double trouble because of a record drought and saltwater intrusion early this year and the late arrival of floods.
Flood added fertility to the soil, cleaned up the fields and killed germs, he said.
“Less water from the upper part of the Mekong Delta River or late floods break the normal schemes of crops and create favourable conditions for the growth of rats and insects, which damage crops,” he said.
Cường from plant protection centre said farmers must take synchronised and regular measures to kill rats and minimise losses.
While using chemicals to kill rats, farmers must collect and remove all dead rats to ensure hygiene, Cường said, noting that people should not use electrical methods that could harm them.
Fatalities have been reported when people used electricity to track and kill rats in the fields. — VNS