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Farmers unite to destroy mollusks in paddy fields

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Min Tawlawi – Local farmers in Chaung Zone Township (Belukyun Island), Mon State, have been busy destroying golden apple snails in their paddy fields since the beginning of the cultivation season. They are now working together to rid their fields of the pests.

The golden apple snails began destroying transferred paddy seedlings earlier this year, and villagers are now gathering often to spray pesticides and other chemicals to kill the mollusks, as suggested by the administrator of the Township General Administration Department. The chemicals were imported from Thailand.

“We haven’t seen these kind of mollusks at the beach in villages around the delta of the Salween River, or at beaches around the Chuang Zone. But this year there are so many, we have to destroy them by any means available due to their immediate increase,” said a farmer from Kaw Mupon in Chaung Zone.

The areas hardest hit by the mollusks are Kaw Mupon, Daung Yut, Kanaw, Dayae, Natmow, Hinnthar Yyun, and Kyuk Tan villages, according to a staff member of the Myanmar Agriculture Service (MAS) from Chaung Zone Township.

The staff said, “These kind of mollusks affect the paddy fields which are connected to the delta of the Salween River. The seedling fields, the newly-transferred fields, and the mature seedlings are eaten by the mollusks at night, and only stubble remains in the morning.”

The type of mollusks affecting Mon State this year could be traveling with the flow of the Salween River. Similarly, Myawaddy and Hpa-an townships in Karen State have been affected by golden apple snails for the past two years, according to farmers in Hpa-an.

“This new specials of mollusks lay eggs in the summer. They usually don’t lay eggs in salt water, but only in fresh water. They lay their eggs on different species of reed, grasses, and the mature paddy plants above one feet of water level. One mass of eggs has over ten thousands eggs, which can spread very quickly,” said a staff member from the Chaung Zone Township Pesticides Department.

“The colour of the mollusks is pink with a reddish stripe, and its shell is quite delicate and easy to crumble,” the staff member said.

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