Expert: Veggies reduce rice pests-A A +A
Friday, June 15, 2012
ILOILO CITY – Farmers must plant vegetables along rice fields to help manage pests and reduce expenses for pesticides, a crop protection expert said.
Gertrudo Arida, division head of the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) crop protection, said planting vegetables like okra, squash, and eggplant provides food for egg parasitoids and shelter for pest predators.
Arida is promoting ecological engineering in farms, a strategy that lessens pesticide use by improving the beneficial insects’ habitat. Beneficial insects in the rice field include spiders, coccinellid beetles, long legged flies, and yellowish-brown ants.
“To prevent pest outbreaks, we recommend the conservation of natural enemies to lessen the unnecessary and costly use of pesticides,” Arida said.
Farmers spray pesticides indiscriminately and usually without proper gear to protect themselves. This practice does not only kill pests, but also risks farmers’ health.
Statistics from the World Health Organization showed that about three million cases of pesticide poisoning annually and 220,000 deaths caused by indiscriminate pesticide use.