Rice black bugs are among the most prevalent pests in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur.

Villagers in this first class municipality of  Esperanza, Agusan del Sur are initiating plans to lessen pest occurrences that had been the long-running problem in the farming communities.

Sharen T. Rivas, science research specialist from Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Agusan del Norte, said a campaign dubbed as Barangay IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Patrol Campaign will be launched in October. IPM entails “combining the best available tools and techniques to reduce pest populations.”

In a workshop conducted with  the partners, Rivas said “barangay IPM patrollers”, whom the farmers can tap when initial pest or disease damages become apparent in their farms, will be institutionalized. The patrollers will send the feedback to the municipal agricultural officer (MAO) through SMS, even without validation. MAO will then validate the incidence and provide technical advice.

MAO can also consult the campaign’s technical board members, which include PhilRice Agusan, Caraga DA-RCPC, and Provincial Agricultural Office, for the incident validation and provision of technical advice.

“This way, we are integrating and mobilizing actors from the ground to the policy level in curbing the long-running problem on pests, especially in our RiceBIS Community Program sites where we promote agripreneurship,” Rivas said.

Data showed that around 90% in the RiceBIS area suffered from rice black bug damage alone.

Patrollers will be trained on the technical aspects and information and communication technologies for pest insect identification and disease diagnostic.

Palaytambayan, a rice knowledge corner, will also be set-up in the villages.

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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