Farmers in Murcia, Negros Occidental started to update their knowledge on rice farming with the recent launching of PalayAralan, an informal learning series, in Brgy. Damsite.

Conducted by Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice), 26 farmers under the RiceBIS Agrarian Reform Cooperative learned about managing pests and diseases.

According to Jose Arnel Cordova, science research specialist, rice production in the area is quite low due to bacterial leaf blight and sheath blight.

To prevent the occurrences, Cordova explained the interrelationship among factors composing the “disease triangle,” which can be weakened through recommended practices.

“ Three factors namely the host plant, the pathogen, and the environmental conditions cause plant diseases. Farmers can control plant diseases by breaking the bond through choosing the right variety and properly applying the right fertilizer,” he said.

“Managing pests and diseases starts with planting resistant varieties. To know the suited variety, farmers may contact agricultural technician or the PhilRice staff. [They may also contact the DA-PhilRice Text Center, 0917-111-7423, and ask about these varieties]. In Murcia, NSIC Rc 216 is a resistant variety against bacterial leaf blight and sheath blight. Although resistant, we need to be conscious of the disease triangle and fertilizer management,”  he said. 

Cordova also highlighted proper fertilizer management as a way to prevent pests and diseases.

“Farmers may apply EAT or right Element, Amount, and Timing on applying fertilizers, which can be identified through the aid of Leaf Color Chart and Minus-One Element Technique,” he said. For potassium, Cordova recommended  ½kg for 1ha.

Irene Mag-aro, one of the farmer participants, said she is thankful for the learnings he gained from PalayAralan.

“This is a big help to us because sometimes, we forget some information about the proper ways and management. We are hoping that in the next planting season, we would apply all that we have learned in PalayAralan,” she 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