As if drought, flooding and insect infestations were not enough, Thailand's rice crop is now threatened by the risk of a fungus spreading and wiping out crops.
New threat to Isan rice fields: Blast disease may spread, say experts by Walailak Keeratipipatpong
UBON RATCHATHANI : Though the recent floods have had a minimal impact on rice plantations in the Northeast, the largest growing area in the country, the region is facing a new threat from blast plant disease.
The disease, which destroys paddy ears and dries up rice, is estimated to have damaged 500,000 rai of rice fields in provinces including Ubon Ratchathani, Sakon Nakhon and Amnat Charoen.
The affected area may be small compared with the 32 million rai of rice-growing land in the region, but experts are concerned that production of fragrant and glutinous rice, two prominent products in the Northeast, could fall.
The recent floods damaged about 100,000 rai of rice farms in Ubon Ratchathani last month but blast disease has so far affected more that 400,000 rai of paddy fields in the province alone, said Sitthiporn Bangkaew, director of the provincial Commercial Affairs Office.
Nearby provinces have also encountered the same problems, traders were informed during a survey conducted late last week by the Thai Rice Exporters Association.
Mr Sitthiporn has advised the government take the issue seriously by giving proper advice to farmers on how to contain blast disease, which last hit area farms badly in 1983-84.
However, agriculture officials say farmers also need to change their ways in order to reduce the risk.
Such diseases emerge when there is excessive use of fertiliser in order to promote growth. It's a rich-man problem and we're sure it will be brought under control," said Laddawan Kunnoot, director of the Bureau of Rice Products Development of the Rice Department.
She said the disease was detected two years ago and the department had been continuously advising farmers not to overuse fertilisers. "But many whose farms were flooded have tried to put in more essentials to promote growth, which would be bad," Dr Laddawan said.
Despite natural disasters such as floods and bug infestations that have damaged Thai rice farms over the past year, exporters, millers and farmers agree then impact on supply has been modest...
(Source: Bangkok Post, AGRICULTURE & FOOD, New threat to Isan rice fields, Blast disease may spread, say experts, 29/11/2010, Walailak Keeratipipatpong, link)
threat - a danger อันตราย
spread - to gradually affect or cover a larger area แพร่กระจาย
minimal - very small in amount น้อยที่สุด, น้อยมาก
impact - an effect or influence ผลกระทบ
plantations - large farms
blast plant disease - a dangerous fungus that can quickly destroy rice crops (See Wikipedia and description of disease)
paddy - rice after it has been harvested from the field ข้าวเปลือก
land - to get or achieve something good, especially in a way which seems easy or unexpected ได้รับ
concerned - worried about something มีความกังวล
fragrant rice - Jasmine rice, see "Thai Hom Mali rice" below
Thai Hom Mali rice - a variety of rice discovered in Thailand, a long-grain variety of rice that has a nutty aroma and a special taste (See Wikipedia on Jasmine rice)
glutinous rice - sticky rice, a short grained Asian rice that is very sticky after being cooked (See Wikipedia)
prominent - important, well known, very noticeable สำคัญ, มีชื่อเสียง, เด่น
encountered - experienced, especially something unpleasant เผชิญหน้า
traders - people and companies thatbuy and sell goods for profits
survey - gathering information about what people think about different subjects (public opionion) by asking large numbers of people questions and counting their answers, and then using statistics, graphs, and tables to present results (See Wikipedia)
conduct a survey - do a survey
issue - a problem that needs to be considered, n important subject that people discuss or argue about ประเด็น
take seriously - accept something as imporant (and therefore do something about it)
proper advice - correct or right advice
risk - the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen ความเสี่ยง
emerge - appear, happen, occur เกิด, มีขึ้น, ปรากฏ, บังเกิด
excessive - too much, much greater than is usual; too much of something มากเกินปริมาณที่พอดี
fertilisers - chemicals or natural substances that help plants grow, food for plants (See Wikipedia)
promote - help some happen or come into existence
detected - noticed, discovered or found out จับได้ พบได้
essentials - important basic things that are needed
natural - found in nature (not made in a factory by humans) ตามธรรมชาติ
natural disaster - when some event in nature causes harm to large numbers of humans, events include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, floods, storms, droughts, fires, epidemics, and insect infestations, meteors from outer space (See Wikipedia) ภัยธรรมชาติ (See Wikipedia)
infestation - when insects come in large numbers and do damage to crops
modest - not large in size or amount ไม่มากมาย