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Aurora, the lowest rice-producing province in Region III, may soon increase its harvests with the promotion of pest-reducing farm practices in the area.

Dr. Aurora M. Corales, supervising science research specialist based at the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) said that synchronous planting and crop rotation could help minimize pest and disease occurrences including rats, rice black bug, rice bug, tungro, rice blast, and bacterial blight.

“Aurora farmers plant rice year-round, but rice yield has been declining by 1.32 percent over the years. Planting rice continuously and at different months in a year increases the prevalence of pests because they have continuous supply of food,” Corales said.

In Brgy. Diaat, Maria Aurora, about 100 farmers observed the effects of synchronous planting and planting corn after rice in a demonstration farm.

Corales, a training specialist, said that synchronous planting within one month and crop rotation avoid the overlapping incidence of insect, rodent, and disease populations.

“Planting corn after rice will starve pests as food is not easily available for them. Crop rotation also prevents soil depletion and maintains soil fertility,” she said.

In a recent Farmers` Field Day and Forum hosted by PhilRice, provincial government of Aurora, local government unit of Maria Aurora, National Irrigation Administration-Region III, Nagaget nga Mannalon Inc, DA Regional Field Office III, and Alalay sa Kaunlaran Inc.,  farmers expressed their interest in learning more about the practices.

During the event, farmer Julio Lupin-na testified that his corn yield had increased following the proper distance of planting the crop while Pio Soriano said that he learned the right way of rice farming.

“I hope that the farmers will apply what they learned in the demonstration farm so they will be more productive and be farmer-models in the province,” Adriano Necesito, Aurora provincial agriculturist, said.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute