With rice production woes peaking during the rainy season, PhilRice Agusan in partnership with the Department of Agriculture Regional Office 13 (DA-RFO 13) conducted a training on identifying and managing rice pests and diseases, 7-9 July.
“Incidences of rice insect pests and diseases and pests are relatively higher during rainy season. This translates to massive yield loss. Hence, it is imperative that we assist farmers by giving them science-based information,” said branch manager Abner T. Montecalvo.
Titled Implementers’ training on rice crop health on the Philippine Rice Information System (PRISM) Project, the DA-RFO 13 research staff and LGU technicians from San Francisco, Agusan del Sur and Butuan City, Agusan del Norte in dealing with rice pests and diseases.
Dr. Gerardo F. Estoy Jr., coordinator for Research and Development of PhilRice Agusan said that the participants need to be familiar with the problems faced by farmers on field so they can provide solutions that will help reduce yield loss.
“Lecturers from the DA-Regional Office (Region 13) and PhilRice Agusan presented factors contributing to yield loss. Common and prevalent insect pests such as stem borers and rice grain bugs were discussed,” Estoy said.
Meanwhile, Ruth S. Maisog, one of the participants, said the knowledge she gained from the training will aid her in fulfilling her duties as the city rice coordinator in Butuan.
“It will now be easier for us to respond to the inquiries of farmers during our sessions in the Farmers Field School (FFS) and when we do our weekly monitoring in our respective communities,” Maisog said.
Aside from lectures, the participants had field exercises on identifying common weeds in lowland and rainfed areas in the Philippines and assessing pest damage. They were also taught on how to strategically collect data based on their assessments of actual samples of infested crops using the PRISM survey portfolio.
“LGU engagement is critical in helping farmers manage rice insect pests and diseases. Through this training, we are looking forward to more collaborative undertakings between LGUs and farmers,” Estoy added.
PRISM is a 4-year research and development collaboration among the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and Synthetic Aperture Radar imagery and remote sensing company (SARMAP) that aims to develop a monitoring and information system for rice production in the Philippines.