LOS BAÑOS, Laguna: The project team for a project to improve the calamansi industry in Oriental Mindoro is recommending the use of biocontrol measures against pests and diseases affecting the commodity's farms in the province.
The team from the "Promotion and Dissemination of Integrated Pest Management Strategies," a component of the project "Upgrading the Calamansi Value Chain towards Improving the Calamansi Industry in Oriental Mindoro," conducted a pest and disease baseline survey of calamansi farms and plant nurseries accredited by the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) in Oriental Mindoro in April 2018.
The team conducted focused group discussions (FGDs) with farmer-groups and associations in Victoria and Pola, which provided the project team with a better understanding of the crop protection practices of calamansi farmers.
It was learned from the discussions that farmers use pesticides with cypermethrin as the active ingredient. The repeated use of the chemical in the past years has resulted in its losing effectiveness in controlling pest populations. The farmers were introduced to new formulations of insecticides to substitute cypermethrin.
As a long-term measure, the team advised calamansi farmers to adopt biological control practices like the use of predators such as lacewings and parasitoids like trichogramma.
The team also interviewed Lorna Cepillo, officer in charge of the Plant Quarantine Services of BPI in Oriental Mindoro, regarding disease indexing protocols and certification and quarantine regulations for calamansi planting materials.
"It was found out that there are no accredited nurseries in Oriental Mindoro that produce disease-free seedlings. The office uses the Iodo-starch test for disease indexing.
Leaves showing symptoms of a disease are tested. The test has a particularly low sensitivity to the pathogen and will not easily be detected in earlier symptoms on the leaves," the Philippine-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) said in a statement.
The project to improve the calamansi industry in Oriental Mindoro involves SEARCA, University of the Philippines Los Baños and the Mindoro State College of Agriculture and Technology. It is funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research.