International Rice Research Institute
Los Baños, Philippines
The Bangkok Post reported on 26 January 2010 that Thailand has cut the second crop output forecast by nearly 16% from 8.3 million tons to 7 million tons. The main reasons cited by officials were water shortage and heavy infestations by planthoppers in key rice areas. http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/economics/31763/second-crop-output-forecast-cut-by-16. Most of the water shortage problems are in the North Eastern region where farmers are unable to start planting. This has drawn concerns from H.M the Queen of Thailand (http://teakdoor.com/thailand-the-royal-family/26767-thailand-queen-voices-concern-about-rice.html ). The BPH and virus infestations are in the irrigated areas of Central Thailand.
The total rice output for the 2009/10 is now expected to be 29 million tons paddy if the BPH and water problems do not persist. This expected output is about 2.4 million tons (or 7.6%) lower than 31.4 million tons obtained in the 2008/2009 crop. This might add pressure on world rice prices.
The BPH infestations started in July 2009 and spread to 14 provinces in Thailand’s rice bowl (https://ricehoppers.net/2009/08/10/hopperburn-in-thailand%e2%80%99s-rice-bowl/). Despite the control campaigns and millions of baht spent in attempts to control the problem with pesticides in the last 6 months, problems from BPH and virus infestations seem to have gone worse (https://ricehoppers.net/2009/12/23/thai-ministry-of-agriculture-seeking-cabinet-approval-for-funds-to-control-bph-outbreaks/ ). Farmers have been using pesticides that have high resurgence properties, like abamectin, cypermethrin and chlorpyrifos, especially in the early crop stages that have increased the vulnerability of their farms to hopperburn. (https://ricehoppers.net/2010/01/17/farmers%e2%80%99-insecticide-selections-might-have-made-their-farms-vulnerable-to-hopperburn-in-chainat-thailand/ ).
BPH and virus infestations in many areas in Central Thailand are still heavy. To add further miseries to farmers, many of them are in debt unable to repay bank loans because of the crop losses they suffered and the huge pesticide expenditures they had incurred. In Phichit province, about 30% of the rice fields were destroyed (https://ricehoppers.net/2010/01/26/planthoppers-destroyed-30-of-province%e2%80%99s-rice-production-in-thailand/ ).
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