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Armyworms Beating a Retreat

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Many provinces reported infestations of armyworms last week in the northern and northeastern parts of the country. Supplied

The plague of armyworms that were eating crops in a dozen provinces last week is now under control, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has reported, with the soybean crops recording the most damage.
Speaking on PNN television this week, Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon said a total of 21,400 hectares of crops nationwide had been hit by the armyworm invasion.
Of the 21,400 hectares of land affected, about 2,000 hectares of rice paddy seedlings, more than 4,000 hectares of soybeans and more than 9,000 hectares of cassava were affected, Mr. Sakhon said.
“The crop affected most was soybeans,” Mr. Sakhon said. “And the land affected growing rice paddy seedlings was about 2,000 hectares.”
The province hardest hit by armyworms was Preah Vihear, Mr. Sakhon added, where soybean crops on 4,351 hectares were affected. Cassava and other crops affected covered up to 9,500 hectares, he said.
“The cassava plants were slightly affected and they can be restored, but the crop affected the most was soybeans,” Mr. Sakhon said.
“We now have the situation under control,” the agriculture minister added.
Many provinces reported infestations of armyworms last week in the northern and northeastern part of the country. The caterpillars attacked rice, cassava, soybeans, peanuts and watermelons, raising concerns over the agricultural productivity of the country this year, coming after the sector was hit hard by a prolonged drought.
Mr. Sakhon said the armyworm infestation could affect rice production this year.
The provinces affected by armyworms were Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, Tbong Khmom, Banteay Meanchey, Oddor Meanchey and Kampot, according to ministry.
Officials from Tbong Khmom and Banteay Meanchey provinces confirmed that 144 hectares and 20 hectares respectively had been affected by armyworms.
The ministry blamed the weather as the possible cause of the infestation as this year temperatures were higher than normal, providing ideal conditions for the armyworms.

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