Study on coco pests wins best research paper-A A +A
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
AN INTEGRATED pest control management study against a specific insect that affected many coconut plantations in the country won as the best research paper in a national competition on October 9 in Los Baños, Laguna.
The study, entitled "Development of National Control Strategies for Brontispa Longgissima Gestro, an introduced pest of coconut in the Philippines with emphasis on biological control" of the Philippine Coconut Authority-Davao Research Center (PCA-DRC), was commissioned by Southern Mindanao Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (Smarrdec).
The research team composed of Dr. Cynthia Gallego, Ivorie dela Torre, and Jenycar Gallego took the judges by storm during the National Symposium on Agriculture Resources Research and Development at the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development's Elvira O. Tan Hall in Los Baños, Laguna.
Speaking in Wednesday's Club 888 forum at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao, PCA-DRC Scientist 1 for the crop protection division Vivencio C. Gallego, said the research took 10 long years before it was completed.
The research team poured much of their time in evaluating and studying the use of parasitoid Tetratichus, a fly-like insect that can control and eliminate the coconut pest Brontispa longgissima.
"The pest might have come from Thailand through trades of ornamental plants. It was first discovered in Roxas Boulevard in 2005 and then it affected all coconut growing regions in the country," he said.
They first discovered the parasitoid Tetratichus in Ma-a, Davao City in 2007.
After seeing the insect's capability in fighting against the pest's infestations in some coconut plantations in the country, they took samples of the Tetratichus and then worked for its mass production, which they later distributed to most farms in the Philippines.
Gallego said the effectivity of the biological control system brought the Brontispa longgissima-infested farms down to only 10 percent, which includes unreachable islands like Palawan and Mindoro.
The Tetratichus lays its eggs to its host, the Brontispa longgissima, where it hatches inside, and thus killing the pests.
Currently, there are a total of 52 laboratories nationwide that are mass-producing the Tetratichus, which they distribute to farmers for free. Each hectare needs at least 200 insects are needed.
He said a total of 1,053,921 Tetrastichus insects have been released so far in Central Visayas, Davao Region, and Soccsksargen.
He said they will train farmers and researchers on how to effectively use the insects in battling out the dreadful pests that infested several coconut farms in the country.
Aside from Davao Region, PCA-DRC has already trained a total of 1,678 coconut growers from regions Central Visayas, Zambonga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen, and Caraga.
The agency is set to conduct an impact assessment of the project.
Smarrdec director Dr. Lourdes C. Generalao said, in a statement, that the biological control, as an alternative approach to fighting the pests, offers sustainable and effective control over the infestations.
The research was done in collaboration with Dost-Pcaarrd, PCA-Albay Research Center, and the Philippine Nuclear Institute.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 24, 2013.