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Agriculture minister seeks way to control rice blast disease in Northeast

Nov 05. 2019
Chalermchai Sreeon
Chalermchai Sreeon
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Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sreeon has ordered the Department of Agriculture, the Rice Department and the Department of Agriculture Extension to look for a way to control an outbreak of rice blast disease scourging northeastern provinces.

“Rice blast fungus has spread to the Thung Kula Ronghai region covering five provinces, which is an important area for growing jasmine rice,” the minister said. 

“To deal with this disease, the Rice Department has in the past used Trichoderma, the fungus which can eliminate other fungi. However, as the disease has spread across a huge area, fungicide should be used to prevent further damage.”

The damaged area covers 295,740 rai in Surin, 113,715 rai in Srisaket, 20,050 rai in Roi Et, 5,018 rai in Maha Sarakham, and 181 rai so far in Ubon Ratchathani, Rice Department director-general Sudsakorn Pattarakulnit said.

His department has already distributed Trichoderma to farmers growing jasmine rice near the diseased area.

Meanwhile, 29 tonnes of Trichoderma was allocated to Surin, 8 tonnes to Srisaket, 2 tonnes to Roi Et and 1.6 tonnes to Maha Sarakham.

The director-general has surveyed the damage caused by rice blast and evaluated the situation with other relevant agencies and provincial governors, according to the minister’s order. 

“To keep the situation from getting worse, the government will distribute fungicide to farmers and instruct them to use it in proper amounts and with safety,” Sudsakorn said.

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