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Ministry on trail of the apple snail

Ministry on trail of the apple snail

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, along with Prey Veng provincial agriculture experts and villagers in Svay Ourntor district, are taking measures to eradicate golden apple snails, which feed on rice seedlings, agriculture officials said.

According to Prey Veng agriculture chief Ouk Samnang, only a couple of the more than 100,000 hectares of rice in the province had been destroyed by the snails, but villagers had nonetheless expressed concern for their seedlings, and the prime minister had urged the department to cooperate.    

“Getting rid of golden apple snails is neither difficult nor easy, because it is a kind of insect that can live in water and soil,” he said, noting that simply keeping an adequate amount of water in the paddy protects the seedlings, but that water isn’t always available.

Dr Hean Vann Horn, deputy president of the rice planting department, said past control efforts had failed, because some villagers raised them for food and to use their colourful shells as decoration.

Seasonal floods, he added, had also swept the snails into new habitats, making it impossible to “absolutely destroy them”, but rice seedlings over two weeks old were safe.

Peng Sary, a villager in Svay Ourntor district who has dealt with golden apple snails, said that ploughing a smooth field with ample water prevents the snails, but that other methods exist for dealing with the pests.

“First we collect golden apple snails to soak in a pot with urine, and later we pour it into the rice field with about 20 centimetres of water” as a natural fertilizer, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Khouth Sophak Chakrya at [email protected]

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