Local farmer technicians urged to intensify crop pest surveillance

Posted by: RAFIS DA6 | Posted at: August 30, 2023

On top of their primary functions of supporting LGU-based agricultural extension workers in disseminating and implementing agricultural programs and projects, local farmer technicians (LFTs) are mobilized to conduct regular crop pest surveillance.

Dominador Marquez, the Department of Agriculture (DA) Western Visayas’ Field Operation Division Chief, said that LFTs should be at the forefront in preventing pest and disease incidents, that if not managed could significantly reduce crop yield, particularly during adverse climate occurrences.

He advised LFTs to assist the LGUs and DA in listing farmers in the government’s Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA), which serves as the primary basis for the provision of inputs and other support to farmers.

In addition, he solicited support from LFTs to contribute to the transformation of farmers’ groups into clusters, as the DA’s interventions will soon be directed towards organized clusters.

On the other hand, DA Regional Crop Protection Center Chief Ryan Rasgo told LFTs who attended the third quarter meeting in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo, on August 30, to submit real-time pest surveillance reports to the agency in order for the center to detect and manage early sightings of infestation.

RCPC has adequate stocks of biological control agents such as metarhizium anisopliae and Trichogramma, which farmers could avail for free at the DA Western Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center in Jaro.

Moreover, Rasgo stressed the need for DA to conduct Integrated Pest Management (IPM) retooling activities for LFTs in pursuit of sustainable crop pest management.

“Sustainable means we don’t rely solely on the use of pesticides in managing pests. LFTs themselves should practice IPM to influence more farmers to adopt an environmentally conscious approach to pest control.”

He added that rodents, rice black bug, rice blast, brown planthopper, and bacterial leaf blight are the major crop pests in Western Visayas that RCPC aims to address promptly through IPM and intensified work collaboration of the LGUs extension workers and the department. ### By Sheila Mae H. Toreno/DA-RAFIS 6