Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat.
VietNamNet Bridge – Lacking obvious solutions, the northern region may have a poor winter-spring crop, observed Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat at an extended cabinet meeting last week.
Phat said that the Mekong River Delta, the largest rice basket in Vietnam, will have a good harvest, but the Red River Delta is facing difficulties like epidemic diseases, a warm winter and drought.
The Minister said that a disease on rice has spread to 18 northern provinces, from the central province of Quang Nam northward.
“Local governments have to immediately halt this disease because it is very dangerous, otherwise the northern region will surely have a poor crop,” Phat warned. “In 2006 we lost one million tons of rice because of this disease.”
Because of the warm winter, around 15 percent of rice seedlings have died. He asked provinces to assist farmers in changing rice varieties and with suitable rice transplantation schedules.
Phat requested provinces to control the use of water for irrigation. “If we let farmers manage water sources themselves, the northern region will easily lose its crop.”
Meanwhile, the agricultural sector is also facing the return of bird flu epidemic in Cao Bang, Thai Nguyen and Dien Bien.
“It is a rule that after the 15th day of the lunar year we can know whether the bird flu epidemic will break out again or not,” he explained. “As of the 23rd day of the lunar year, the people buy a lot of poultry and that is when bird flu can spread.”
He asked government officials to check their cattle and poultry flocks and vaccinate them immediately, plus take measures to prevent foot-and-mouth disease.
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