Nguyen Huu Huan, Vice Director General
Plant Protection Department (PPD)
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Vietnam will enjoy the biggest harvest of 10.4 million tons in the winter spring crop of 2010 (http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/more.php?news_id=94259 ). This is mainly due to the good weather and low infestations of pest and diseases. The winter-spring crop in 2007 was heavily infested with BPH and virus diseases causing a loss of 0.7 million tons and the government temporarily stopped exports. Since then PPD has developed the “escape strategy” where farm communities use a local light trap to predict BPH infestations and use it to decide when to best start planting. This method, now adopted by over 90 % of farmers in the Mekong Delta, has minimized the virus infections. Together with wide scale implementation of the “Three Reductions, Three Gains” that was introduced in 2005 in collaboration with IRRI, farmers’ insecticide use is kept at a minimum. Thus most rice fields in the Mekong Delta have low vulnerability to BPH outbreaks although they still do occur in isolated areas (example http://www.saigon-gpdaily.com.vn/National/2010/2/79147/ ) but had remained small.
Meanwhile PPD is experimenting with the use of ecological engineering approaches (https://ricehoppers.net/2010/02/12/farmers%e2%80%99-day-for-ecological-engineering-to-restore-biodiversity-in-cai-be-vietnam/ ) to further strengthen rice ecosystem’s resilience to pest attacks.