Tapioca growers must use predators and immerse cassava trunks in chemicals. Some farmers have failed to do this. More chemicals are on the way.
Mealybug infestations have been threatening Thailand's Cassava crop since 2009. The particular variety that poses the threat is named Phenacoccus manihoti (Read article and list of varieties and photos from which the photos above and below have been selected).
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AGRIBUSINESS: Another B600m to help battle mealybugs by Chatrudee Theparat
The government allocated an additional 600 million baht from a reserve budget for fiscal 2011 to help tapioca growers deal with damage caused by mealybugs to the 2011-12 crop
The money will be given to farmers to employ measures that prevent mealybugs in the 45 provinces where cassavas are grown, covering 5.91 million rai with 345,000 growers
The project will run from this month to September.
Mealybugs first became a problem in 2009, raising the concern of insufficient supply of raw materials for tapioca-related industries. The Thai Tapioca Traders Association called on the government to find measures to prevent the bugs.
A survey by the Office of Agricultural Economics in January showed cassava output for the 2010-11 crop was only 20.86 million tonnes, down from a previous projection of 21.06 million because of damage by mealybugs.
The surveys were conducted in major growing areas in Kamphaeng Phet, Phitsanulok, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, Kalasin, Chon Buri and Sa Kaeo.
Without any help, the agency expects output is likely to drop sharply this year.
Kiat Sittheeamorn, the Thailand Trade Representative, said the government earlier allocated around 200 million baht in three lots to help tapioca growers protect their crops from mealybugs.
This time, the Department of Agriculture Extension is required to insist tapioca growers use predators of the mealybug while also immersing the cassava trunks in chemical fluids.
Apichart Jongsakul, head of the Office of Agricultural Economy, said the project did not offer 100% protection. He said some cassava growers still don't protect cassava trunks from mealybugs.
Mr Apichart forecast production will return to normal with the 2012-13 crop.
The slowdown in cassava production has encouraged feed meal producers to use other products as raw materials while exporters have enjoyed better prices in line with the lower supply.
A report by the Thai Tapioca Trade Association showed the fresh cassava root price was between 3.30 and 3.70 baht a kilogramme, tapioca chips 7.60 to 7.90 baht and tapioca starch 16.20 to 16.50 baht as of March 14.
The Thai Tapioca Development Institute has worked with the government to breed Benin wasps to control the mealybugs, and has a target to produce 3.6 million pairs of wasps this year to release into cassava-growing areas.
(Source: Bangkok Post, AGRIBUSINESS, Another B600m to help battle mealybugs, 21/03/2011, Chatrudee Theparat, link)
tapioca - cassava, an important food source of carbohydrates, also source of ethanol car fuel (See Wikipedia) มันสำปะหลัง
cassava - same as "tapioca"
mealybug - an insect that in large numbers (infestation) can eat and do damage to crops of "citrus, sugarcane, grapes, pineapple, coffee trees, cassava, ferns, cacti, gardenias and orchids. Mealybugs only tend to be serious pests in the presence of ants because the ants protect them from predators and parasites." (See Wikipedia)
infestation - when insects come in large numbers and do damage to crops
allocated - given for a special purpose or use
reserve - kept for use for something or someone, something currently not being used but that can be used when needed สำรองไว้, ที่จัดสรรไว้
budget - the amounts of money that an organisation has available to spend on different things during a period งบประมาณ (See Wikipedia)
fiscal - connected with the government budget, i.e., public money เกี่ยวกับงบประมาณ
fiscal 2011 - the calendar year used by companies, organizations and the government for making annual spending budgets and for making annual financial reports
employ - to have someone work or do a job for you and pay them for it ว่าจ้าง, จ้าง
measures - actions taken to deal with a problem มาตราการ
employ measures - use measures
concern - a worry ความกังวล
raising the concern of - pointing out and showing something dangerous that we should be worried about
insufficient - not sufficient, not enough ไม่พอ
raw materials - materials in their natural state before being processed or used in manufacturing
survey - gathering information by asking large numbers of people questions and counting their answers, and then using statistics, graphs, and tables to present results (See Wikipedia) การสำรวจ
projection - guessing a future amount, a calculation or guess about the future based on information that you have การคาดคะเน
Agriculture Extension - "the application of scientific research and new knowledge to agricultural practices through farmer education," nowadays it includes "a wider range of communication and learning activities organised for rural people by professionals from different disciplines, including agriculture, agricultural marketing, health, and business studies" (See Wikipedia)
insist - to say very firmly that something must happen or must be done ยืนกราน
predator - an animal that kills other animals
X is a predator of Y - species of animal X kills species Y
immerse - to cover completely in a liquid
trunk - the main part of an animal or plant body (between the waist and head in humans, the stalk in plants)
fluid - a liquid (example: water)
forecast - statement about what will happen in future based on information available now พยากรณ์, คาดการณ์
encouraged - having more confidence or hope about something มีกำลังใจ
in line with - agreeing with, following
chips - a small piece (that has been broken off a larger piece)
breed - raise animals for the purpose of producing more animals เพาะเลี้ยง
target - a goal เป้าหมาย
release - allowing someone to go free การปล่อยตัว
wasp - an insect with a painful sting: "defined as any insect of the order Hymenoptera and suborder Apocrita that is neither a bee nor an ant. Almost every pest insect species has at least one wasp species that preys upon it or parasitizes it, making wasps critically important in natural control of their numbers, or natural biocontrol. Parasitic wasps are increasingly used in agricultural pest control as they prey mostly on pest insects and have little impact on crops" ตัวต่อ, ชื่อแมลงขนาดกลางถึงขนาดใหญ่หลายวงศ์ มีปีก 2 คู่ ลักษณะเป็นแผ่นบางใส ปีกคู่หลังเล็กกว่าปีกคู่หน้า ปากเป็นชนิดกัดกิน เอวคอดกิ่ว ตัวเมียมีเหล็กในสำหรับต่อยปล่อยน้ำพิษทำให้เจ็บปวดได้ (See Wikipedia)
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