07 Mar '11, 5am

Asia rice output under threat

SINGAPORE - The unbridled manufacture and use of pesticides in Asia is raising the spectre of "pest storms" devastating the region's rice farms and threatening food security, scientists have warned. Increased production of cheap pesticides in China and India, lax regulation and inadequate farmer education are destroying ecosystems around paddies, allowing pests to thrive and multiply, they said. The problem has emerged over the last decade and -- if left unchecked -- pests could lay waste to vast tracts of Asia's rice farms, according to scientists who took part in a workshop in Singapore last week. "There is increasing concern that the more we use pesticides in rice fields, it is actually making the pest problem worse," Australian scientist George Lukacs told AFP in an interview. Under pressure to raise yields to meet growing demand, poorly trained farmers tend to be over...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/vi...

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