Dry weather and crop diseases could affect the rice output and quality in the northern provinces, warned an agricultural official at a conference held in Hanoi on March 2.

Deputy Head of the Department of Cultivation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Xuan Dinh said dry weather in the 2014-2015 spring-winter crops has caused several rice seeds to open early, risking cold weather exposure at the end of the season.

Diseases are also likely to develop due to unseasonably high temperatures, he added.

Average temperatures for the 2014-2015 crops are also 0.5-1.5 degrees Celsius higher than those of previous crops and are likely to continue rising.

Deputy Head of the ministry’s Department of Plant Protection said localities should actively expect and make preparations for any disease outbreaks.

He noted that the total area for cultivation in the northern region is 1.14 million hectares, down 22,000 hectares from the 2013-2014 spring-winter crop.

Northern and central northern regions are likely to face droughts and water shortages in the coming time, according to the National Hydrometeorology Forecasting Centre.-VNA