The Ministry of Agriculture has urged farmers in south and east China about the spread of fruit diseases and destructive pests, such as Banana Wilt and red fire ants.
Banana Wilt, a devastating disease caused by a soil-borne fungus, has hit 7,878 mu (525.2 hectares) of banana plants in eastern Fujian Province, according to a notice on the ministry's website.
Red fire ants have also shown up in south Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, with more than 150 people having been hurt by the insects and 1,500 mu (100 ha) of cropland damaged, it said.
The ministry lists fire ants, which come from South America, as one of 85 hazardous pests that have prompted import quarantine checks.
The ministry told local governments to allocate staff and funding to help control the spread of Banana Wilt and fire ants. It also told local governments to tighten monitoring of plant diseases and pests and quickly report new infections to higher-level authorities.
(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2008)