No big effect from pest to China's crop production: expert

By Chen Xi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/15 10:43:40

Farmers from Suichuan, a county in East China's Jiangxi Province, sell just-harvested kumquats at a market on Sunday. The county is expected to have a bumper crop this month, with more than 80,000 mu (5,333 hectares) under cultivation and output exceeding 100 million yuan ($15.7 million). Suichuan's kumquats are sold in more than 20 cities around China and exported to countries and regions such as Japan, France and Russia. Photo: CFP

 

The crop-destroying pest fall armyworm (FAW) will not result in large grain production reductions or lower grain quality in China, as the country has taken effective control measures, agricultural specialists said on Tuesday.

The worm mainly eats corn in China, and it's predicted that the FAW will only spread to 30 percent of China's corn production area, Wang Zhenying, a research fellow at the Institute of Plant Protection of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday. He said that FAW will not cause large grain production loss due to the agricultural authorities' emergency measures. 

"The quality of corn will not be affected since we have increased the use of pesticides," said Wang.

Wang's remarks came after a report of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on May 7 claiming that there is a high probability that the pest will spread across China's grain production areas in 12 months.

The presence of FAW may result in lower production and crop quality of corn, rice, wheat, sorghum, sugarcane, cotton, soybean and peanuts among other cash crops, said the USDA report.

The FAW was first spotted in Yunnan Province in January, and China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued a notice in December 2018 to intensely monitor the creature, sent a warning in Yunnan and other provinces, drew up preventive and control measures and guided farmers to use pesticides for emergency prevention, according to the website of the ministry. 

An employee of the plant industry and pesticide management department at the Yunnan Provincial Agriculture and Rural Affairs Department said the department had predicted that the pest would fly to Yunnan Province from Myanmar and has started the prevention work at the end of last year.

"We have trained more than 20,000 farmers on how to identify this worm and how to use pesticides scientifically and safely, and farmers are very satisfied with this timely training," he told the Global Times on condition of anonymity on Tuesday.

"I have bought three to four kinds of pesticides to kill the pest, and it led to a good result," a farmer surnamed Shi in Yuxi, Yunnan Province, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Shi said his corn area covers about eight to nine mu (0.5 to 0.6 hectares), and produces around 3,000 to 4,000 kilograms of corn each year. "I predicted that the amount of corn this year would be the same," Shi said.

However, Wang said that the control measures of FAW are still very arduous in China. 

The pest has been discovered in 11 provinces and regions including South China's Hainan Province, Central China's Hubei Province and Hunan Province, covering 1 million mu as of May 8, Farmer's Daily reported on Friday.

FAW, a migratory pest listed in the world's top ten crop pests, was first spotted in west Africa in early 2016. It has caused economic losses of up to $3 billion in Africa in 2018.

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