The Pest Management Council of the Philippines, Inc. (PMCP) in coordination with Ms. Adelia V. Poblete from the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Cavite, conducted the Plant Doctor’s on Wheels (PDOW) last March 9, 2017 in Brgy. Iba, Silang, Cavite. This year’s PDOW was coordinated by the Philippine Phytopathological Society, Inc. (PPS). Mr. Fernando B. Malveda, PMCP President, graced the event with a cordial welcome of the participants.
This activity was attended by eighty (80) farmers from twenty four (24) municipalities of Cavite. Furthermore, members of PMCP from the University of the Philippines at Los Baños (UPLB) shared their technical expertise during this activity. Dr. Marcela M. Navasero and Ms. Fe V. Alzona of the Philippine Association of Entomologists, Inc. (PAE) lectured about the identification and management of the insect pests of vegetables. On the other hand, Dr. Cecilia B. Pascual, Dr. Marita S. Pinili, Dr. Fe Dela Cueva, Mr. Bernard O. Budot, Ms. Patria G. Gonzales ,and Ms Lolita M. Dolores of the Philippine Phytopathological Society, Inc. (PPS) discussed the major diseases of dragon fruit, pineapple, banana, cacao, upland rice, and vegetables. The control and management of weeds were discussed by Dr. Larry E. Fabro of the Weed Science Society of the Philippines (WSSP). Moreover, a lecture on the proper use of pesticides was presented by Mr. Rhoel C. Suiza of the CropLife, Philippines.
During the open forum, several issues were raised by farmer participants on the proper control and management of insect pests and diseases. One of the concerns raised was about the control of banana bunchy top. Dr. Dela Cueva enlightened the farmers that there is no absolute control method for this disease but only strategies to reduce the incidence and severity of the disease. Strategies to control banana bunchy top include stabbing of bamboo sticks with glyphosate on banana and the use of sterile planting materials, particularly the use of tissue-cultured plantlets. As for the management of soil-borne diseases such as damping-off, Dr. Dela Cueva recommended the use of sterile soil and drenching of Amstar. On the other hand, pests and disease management strategies suitable for organic farming of vegetables were also asked by the farmers. Ms. Dolores suggested biopesticides and resistant varieties while Dr. Navasero endorsed the usage of organic fertilizers and biological control agents such as earwigs and nucleopolyhedrovirus (NPV).
Another concern mentioned by the farmers was the availability of planting materials specifically coconut seedlings and tissue-cultured banana. Dr. Fabro and Dr. Dela Cueva addressed this concern by recommending communication with the Philippine Coconut Association (PCA) and the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) for coconut and banana, respectively.
The farmers also brought several diseased specimens for diagnosis which are mostly banana bunchy top, papaya ring spot. and lanzones and citrus infested with scale insects.