|A rice field in Kiên Giang Province’s Gò Quao District is affected by rice grassy stunt disease and rice ragged stunt disease, possibly because it was planted too early this time despite authorities’ warnings. - VNA/VNS Photo Lê Huy Hải|
HCM CITY – Farmers in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta who sowed the summer- autumn rice crop early are facing a threat of lower yields and increased costs because of disease outbreaks.
In An Giang Province, for instance, farmers have planted a total of 228,000ha, and the harvest has begun in some places.
Nguyễn Văn Hiền, head of the province’s Sub-department of Plant Cultivation and Protection, said: “We hope the price of paddy is stable until the end of the crop so that farmers can earn high profits.”
But unfavourable weather has brought rice diseases which could hit yields, he said.
Diseases often occur when rice is sowed early or late since brown-plant hoppers and other pests from unharvested fields from the previous crop move to the newly sowed fields, he said.
In Đồng Tháp Province’s Tháp Mười, Tân Hồng and Lấp Vò districts, some 560ha sowed early have been affected by brown-plant hoppers.
Farmers in the delta had earned large profits in the 2017-18 winter-spring rice crop and so many planted the autumn-summer rice earlier than usual.
Nguyễn Thanh Hòa, who has a 2ha rice field in Hậu Giang Province’s Vị Thủy District, said he had earned VNĐ45 – 50 million (US$1,980 – 2,200) from the winter-spring rice crop and immediately sowed the next crop.
Nguyễn Văn Mách Châu Thành A District, who also sowed his summer – autumn rice in mid-March like Hòa, said local agricultural officials did warn farmers they had to have a gap of at least three weeks between the two rice crops to eliminate diseases.
“But since the price of rice after the winter – spring crop was high, farmers here sowed the summer – autumn rice early.”
This year the Plant Cultivation Department’s schedule for planting the summer – autumn rice crop in the delta was between April and mid-June.
In Kiên Giang Province, more than 252,140ha have been planted, with 15,500ha being affected by diseases such as rice grassy stunt disease, rice ragged stunt disease and rice blast disease, according to the local Sub-department of Plant Cultivation and Protection.
It has instructed district plant cultivation and protection bureaus to regularly report about diseases and warned farmers to destroy rice plants which are severely affected by diseases.
This summer – autumn crop the delta, the country’s rice granary, has planted more than 1.65 million hectares, more than 247,000ha more than last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. - VNS