Thailand uses drones against NR disease spread in south

Thailand has resorted to spraying chemicals on natural rubber (NR) plantations using drones to contain the spread of Pestalotiopsis fungal disease in Narathiwat province, along the southern border of the country. The International Rubber Consortium (IRCo) has estimated that nearly 50,000 hectares of plantation could be affected from the roughly 16,000 hectares currently and has suggested the spread of the disease to Thailand’s Trang province, one of the densest rubber production areas, as well.

Farmers have reported production declines of 40-60% in Narathiwat, warning that the issue could impact rubber production over the final three months of the year which is usually the peak harvest period.

Earlier this month, officials from Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, members of the International Tripartite Rubber Council (ITRC),expressed concern over the fungal disease outbreak in the countries – ITRC members are looking at ways to best the “very fast” spread of the disease before irreparable consequences.