Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has ordered the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to look into why pepper plantations have been dying off in the Central Highlands, following a report by the vietnamplus online newspaper.
According to the report issued on October 25, over 3,200ha of pepper plantations had died due to diseases, leading to losses amounting to trillions of đồng.
The provinces of Gia Lai and Đắk Nông have suffered the most.
Statistics from the Central Highlands Agriculture and Forestry Science Institute showed that about 3,000ha of pepper plantations are currently infected with diseases, so the problem is likely to grow.
Local farmers had expanded their plantations in recent years, exceeding targets set by local authorities, the institute said. The high price of pepper was the main factor for this expansion, with prices rising to VNĐ230,000 (US$10) per kilo in 2015. However, after supplies rose, prices dropped to only VNĐ50,000 ($2) per kilo.
In Đắk Lắk Province, the area of planting pepper trees is expected to be 13,000ha by 2025, but now the coverage is 36,300ha. In Đắk Nông Province, the target was set at 13,000ha, but now there are 36,000ha.
Due to this expansion, local farmers have started planting on unsuitable land with poor drainage which is easily flooded. Farmers had also used substandard seedlings and not tended to their crops in the recommended way, making diseases to attack the trees, the institute said.
It is estimated that the region now has approximately 93,000ha of pepper plantations. — VNS