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Rice disease brings misery to Hà Tĩnh farmers

Update: May, 12/2017 - 09:00
A farmer waters her rice field in Hà Tĩnh Province’s Hồng Lĩnh Town. — VNA/VNS Photo Lan Xuân
Viet Nam News

HÀ TĨNH — Local farmers in the central province of Hà Tĩnh are facing a disastrous rice crop season with nearly 5,300 ha of crop attacked over the past two weeks by Pyricularia oryzae Cav – a bacteria that causes rice blast disease.

Data from the provincial Crop Production and Plant Protection Department showed that the disease mainly attacked rice of the Khang Dân 18, Xi, P6, Thiên Ưu and VTNA2 types.

Đức Thọ District is believed to suffer the most from the disease with 1,968ha of affected crop, the department said. Of which, about 300ha of crop were completely damaged in the communes of Đức Lạc, Đức Hòa, Đức Đồng, Liên Minh and Trường Sơn, the Nông thôn ngày nay (Countryside Today) newspaper reported.

Trần Thị Sơn, a local farmer in Đức Thọ District’s Đức Long Commune, said her family’s income mainly depended on its 2,880sq.m rice field. Now, about 2,100 sq.m of rice were damaged. “I don’t know what to do now,” she said.

Dương Thị Bảy, of Thạch Hà District’s Kỳ Sơn Commune, said over 6,120sq.m in her rice field contracted the disease this season. There was no symptom of the disease until the rice flowered, she added. “We will lose about five tonnes of rice this season,” she said.

Dương Văn Thư of Thạch Đài Commune said that apart from losing the crop, he also had to hire a harvester to deal with the affected rice. The price was VNĐ140,000 ($6) per 360sq.m,  and the affected rice area was about 4,320sq.m, he said. “One loss leads to another loss," he bemoaned.

To deal with the affected rice areas, many local farmers have to harvest the damaged rice early in the hopes that some rice will remain disease free and they will also get straw to feed their cows and buffalos.

Nguyễn Thị Vân, of Can Lộc District’s Mỹ Lộc Commune said her rice field was about 2,800sq.m. The entire field had already contracted the disease. She now had to harvest the rice soon and take the straw to her cows. 

Lê Thị Thi, of Thạch Hà District’s Thạch Hà Town, said “Seeing my own field hit by the disease, I am desperately worried.” Thi tried to harvest the rice early, but she only extracted 100 kilos of rice from her 1,000sq.m of field.

Causes and solutions

Trần Xuân Định, deputy head of the Plant Cultivation Department under the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, said prolonged warm weather this year was blamed for the disease.

Nguyễn Tống Phong, deputy head of the provincial Crop Production and Plant Protection Department, said this year’s weather with less sunny and more rainy days was the cause. Between April 22 and April 25 – the time that the rice flowered in every field, prolonged rainy weather occurred, creating favourable conditions for the disease to develop.

Nguyễn Trí Hà, head of the provincial Crop Production and Plant Protection Department, said farmers neglecting to spray pesticide in order to prevent the disease were also to blame.

The vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Đức Thọ District, Đặng Giang Trung, told Nhân dân (People) online that the district planted rice on more than 6,500ha of agricultural land, including 1,900ha growing Thiên Ưu rice. The affected area was mainly in fields growing Thiên Ưu rice, he added.

Some people alleged that the problem stems from the quality of the varieties.

Trung said he asked the State managerial agencies to quickly co-operate with the locality find out the causes of the disease.

In response, the head of the ministry’s Plant Cultivation Department, Nguyễn Hồng Sơn, led a team on Wednesday to Hà Tĩnh to inspect the situation and seek immediate solutions. — VNS




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