Farmers' vigilance vs rice black bug urged
Iloilo City (16 February) -- Farmers, especially those near the towns of San Enrique and Pototan were recently urged to be vigilant, to monitor and to report any occurrence of rice black bug (RBB) in their areas to their local farm technicians.
Ricardo Saltin, Chief of the Regional Crop Protection Center (RCPC) of the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 6 (DA-RFU 6), said that measures to combat RBB are now being done in the municipalities of San Enrique and Pototan of Iloilo province.
As big as a "black bean", RBB sucks the basal part of the plant most often at night until these wilt and die.
Saltin said the RCPC has already conducted light trapping operations in San Enrique from January 26 to February 2 and was able to collect 6.5 sacks of rice black bugs.
Saltin told the Philippine Information Agency that they received the report about the occurrence of RBB in San Enrique first week of January but has to wait two days before the full moon to conduct the light trapping.
Light trapping is a preferred method of controlling the rice black bug which is done two days before and after the full moon.
Saltin said light trapping operation is also scheduled in the municipality of Pototan on February 25.
Aside from the light trapping operations, spraying of green muscardine fungus called metharrhizium is also being done in the areas, said Saltin.
As of February 16, it is estimated that some 72 hectares of rice fields in San Enrique and about 5.5 hectares in Pototan have already been affected by the RBB infestation.
It will be recalled that RBB infestation also occurred in the province in 2006 affecting several towns particularly in the fifth district.
Saltin said the high temperature brought about by the dry spell could be a factor for the occurrence of RBB in these areas this year.
DA 6 Regional Technical Director for Operation Engr. Remelyn R. Recoter said that among the proposed measures to help cushion the impact of El Nino especially among farmers in the region is a buffer stock on pesticide in anticipation of the possible occurrence of various farm pests during the dry spell. (PIA) [top]