The import of wheat contaminated with the cirsium arvense into Vietnam has continued despite warnings, posing a high risk of the spread of this harmful weed.
Cirsium arvense or Canada thistle weed has been reported to badly affect 27 kinds of crops in 40 countries Cirsium arvense or Canada thistle weed has been reported to badly affect 27 kinds of crops in 40 countries.
Many batches of wheat imported to Vietnam have been found to contain the weed since May.
In September, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Plant Protection Department required that contaminated wheat would have to be re-exported starting in November.
Instead of the department’s warning, hundreds of thousands of tonnes of wheat were imported into Vietnam, reaching a total 1.8 million by November 10.
The department faced opposition from wheat importers and farmers due to the lack of time they hard to find alternative products.
To create favourable conditions for local businesses, the department has halted re-export requests. Instead, the agency has instructed localities to tighten controls to prevent the risk to the environment. At present, there are around 100 spots where this kind of wheat is being stored.
Le Son Ha, an expert from the Plant Protection Department, said that Canada thistle weed can be released into the environment through the transport. So tighter supervision over cargo is just a temporary solution and it would be hard to ensure prevent the weed’s dissemination.
Vietnamese authorities are still working to resolve the problem.