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PGIN to address major crops diseases

by PGIN-CMO

Nov. 09, 2020 ...

The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN), through the Sustainable Development Center and Provincial Agriculture Office, is cultivating solutions to address the threats of plant diseases on major high-value crops in the province.

Ilocos Norte has been the home of the "White Gold" in the Ilocos Region and one of the top producers of garlic in the Philippines, yielding an average of 4,900 metric tons each year. Likewise, the province is harvesting over 31,000 metric tons of mangoes annually.

However, infestations and virus strains are pestering the province's productivity. "Three from our main crops are suffering from viruses, which we have not quite figured out yet... They are taking a large toll on our agriculture produce, and our level of productivity has really taken a hit," Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc said.

According to a study conducted by the University of the Philippines Los Baños–Institute of Plant Breeding (UPLB-IPB) titled "Virus Indexing of Garlic Bulbs from Region I (Ilocos Region), II (Batanes), IVB (Mindoro) and VI (Iloilo) and from the IPB Collection By Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)," there is a significant presence of viruses in the garlic bulbs of the Ilocos Province.

"The greatest infection among the garlic cloves tested came from Region I, with Ilocos Sur having mixed infection from 2 to 8 viruses while Ilocos Norte, from 2 to 4 viruses," the research result indicated.

On the other hand, the mango growers lament from the kurikong infestation caused by cecid flies, which affects the quality as well as the production of mango fruits in the province.

Meanwhile, dragon fruit farmers are experiencing fungal diseases on their plants, particularly Anthracnose which causes halo-like concentric lesions on stems and fruits.

With these difficulties challenging the agriculture sector of the province, Governor Manotoc assured: "We will be assisting our Ilokano farmers in terms of compensation because we want to make sure that they receive the right compensation for the work they have put in over the past years."

At present, the Provincial Government is collaborating with the Department of Agriculture and Mariano Marcos State University to come up with pest management practices that would solve the plant diseases in Ilocos Norte.