THE Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), in collaboration with the local government of Bayambang, recently launched Oplan Sagip Sibuyas, an information campaign aimed at empowering local onion-rice farmers.
More than 300 onion-rice farmers, extension workers, and students participated in the program launch that demonstrated how farmers can deal with pests.
The rice-onion farms in Bayambang are heavily pest infested.
Reports show that in 2000-2001 an outbreak of anthracnose (an onion pest) had caused a yield loss of as high as 80% to 100% in Luzon and Nueva Ecija.
Onion is usually grown after rice during the dry season.
Herminia Rapusas, PhilRice onion-rice pest expert and national coordinator of the Integrated Pest Management-Collaborative Research and Support Program (IPM-CRSP), affirmed that pests if unchecked pose a serious threat to onion-rice farmers.
Rapusas said the campaign aims at educating farmers on best practices to deal with common insect pests and diseases in rice-onion farming system through the IPM approach.
IPM, according to Rapusas, is not a mere pest control method, but an environmentally sensitive approach that combines biological and cultural methods and technologies.
The campaign will be held for two seasons starting in September 2008 to the 2009 dry season in Barangay Tatarac and Manambong Parte in Bayambang utilizing multimedia, technology demonstration and farmers’ field school.-SMP