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China Gears up to Battle Wheat, Rape Diseases

China is enhancing its efforts to battle plant diseases spreading in the country's wheat and rape plantations.

As of April 1, 9.52 million mu (634,666.7 hectares) of the country's wheat has developed stripe rust, a serious disease caused by a soil-borne fungus, according to Ministry of Agriculture statistics released on Monday.

Meanwhile, 17.33 million mu of rape have been affected by a devastating disease called sclerotinia.

The situation might get worse as the April-June period was a season prone for plant diseases and insect pests with warm weather and frequent rainfalls expected.

According to a ministry forecast, the current disease reports would only account for 24 percent and 39 percent of the total areas of wheat and rape plantings, respectively, that would develop such diseases this year.

However, the ministry did not say the proportion of the disease-affected area count in the sown area.

The ministry has told local governments to beef up its control of the spread of such diseases and intensify monitoring. Local governments were required to quickly report new infections to higher-level authorities.

(Xinhua News Agency April 8, 2008)

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