Friday, October 7, 2016

Taiwan strongly supports management of brown planthopper—a major threat to rice production

Experts from all over Asia attended the workshop Developing an integrative strategy for 
sustainable management of brown planthopper.

TAIPEI, Taiwan—Every year brown planthopper (BPH) infestations in farmers’ rice fields cause severe yield losses in South, Southeast, and East Asia valued at more than USD 300 million. That is why Chen Chi-Chung, the deputy minister of Taiwan Council of Agriculture (CoA), expressed his strong support for the sustainable management of one of the most serious pests of rice crops in Taiwan and the continent.

The deputy minister recognized the importance of controlling the pest during the workshop on developing an integrative strategy for the sustainable management of BPH held on 20-21 September. The workshop highlighted the problems caused by the insect and presented scientific papers related to its management. The workshop was followed by a meeting to formulate an integrative strategy to combine genetics and ecological approaches for sustainably managing BPH outbreaks.

The output of the workshop will be the development of project proposals to be presented to CoA and other potential donors for funding. BPH management is an area for new research collaboration between CoA and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). CoA and IRRI are currently collaborating on developing climate-resilient and high-nutrition rice varieties.

In addition to the direct damage through feeding, planthoppers can transmit rice grassy stunt and rice ragged stunt—two viral diseases that can cause significant yield losses.  Major BPH outbreaks can cause up to 100% crop loss. The most extensive losses from the pest have occurred in India, Indonesia , the Philippines, Japan, and Taiwan. It is important to find the right balance between breeding, genetics, and management strategies to reduce the population of BPH and the resulting pest damage.

The BPH workshop was organized by the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute and CoA’s  Rice Promotion Team in coordination with IRRI.

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