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Winter-spring rice crop at high risk of disease: Agriculture minister

Update: April, 08/2020 - 10:48
A farmer in the northern mountainous province of Điện Biên sprays pesticide on winter-spring rice fields. — VNA/VNS Photo Phan Tuấn Anh

HÀ NỘI — The changing seasons' weather brings a high risk of disease outbreaks to the winter-spring rice crop in the northern provinces, said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyễn Xuân Cường on Tuesday.

The minister requested agriculture sectors in localities to enhance measures to prevent the outbreaks of harmful insects and their impacts on the rice crop.

Up to now, rice fields were developing well but agricultural authorities urged a close watch on weather developments.

Since late last month, the cold weather with high humidity and prolonged drizzle typical of late spring was favourable conditions for harmful insects which could spread the diseases on rice.

This year, the northern provinces had cultivated 1.1ha of the winter-spring crop.

“This crop was very important because it accounted for 60 per cent of yearly yield,” Cường said.

“This time was a sensitive moment for the success of the crop,” he said.

According to the ministry’s Plant Protection Department, the rice fields in the north-central region, including provinces of Thanh Hóa, Nghệ An, Hà Tĩnh, Quảng Bình, Quảng Trị and Thừa Thiên-Huế, were at high risk of đạo ôn (rice blast) disease, one of the most dangerous diseases to rice crops, which is caused by the pyricularia oryzae fungus.

At present, 3,600ha of rice in the region was infected with some light diseases.

In the Hồng (Red) River delta and northern mountainous regions, the rice blast disease will break out and badly damage the rice crop from mid-April till mid-May.

About 5-20 per cent of the crop will be attacked by the disease, the department said.

Meanwhile, rầy nâu insect (a kind of grasshopper) will destroy large areas of rice crop in many provinces, especially in the Hồng River Delta region, till early next month.

At present, more than 1,100ha of rice fields in the Hồng River Delta region have been damaged by the grasshopper, said the department.

In order to protect the winter-spring crop and ensure national food security, Minister Cường asked provincial people’s committees to drastically implement the directive on strengthening harmful insect prevention on the winter-spring crop in northern provinces.

Besides, the local authorities were asked to closely monitor development of harmful insects on other crops of maize and cassava to avoid disease outbreaks. — VNS

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