ON ALERT. Department of Agriculture-Western Visayas officer-in-charge Engr. Jose Albert Barrogo bares Monday (June 5, 2023) that local government units and farmers have been alerted about possible diseases and pests related to the El Niño phenomenon. He says the agency is set to conduct appropriate information campaigns and prevention activities against crop diseases and pests. (Photo courtesy of DA-6)

ILOILO CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA) in the Western Visayas Region (DA-6) has alerted local government units (LGUs) and farmers of diseases and pests infesting crops amid the occurrence of the El Niño phenomenon.

Engr. Jose Albert Barrogo, the DA regional officer-in-charge, said the extended drought period, high heat intensity, and limited supply of water may favor the incidence of diseases and pests such as black bugs, locusts and rodents, among others.

“In anticipation of the coming El Niño, we enjoin everyone, especially the front-liners, including the offices of the provincial, city, and municipal agriculturists to again undertake an information campaign, field monitoring, and pest prevention to avoid damage to crop pests and diseases,” he said in an interview Monday.

An advisory released by the DA Regional Agri-Fishery Information Section warned that rodents may damage all types of crops at all stages while locusts can destroy all crops that are in their vegetative to maturity stages.

Likewise, the armyworm can also bring damage to rice, corn and high-value crops in all stages.

The rice stemborer attacks palay at their vegetative to reproductive stages, while the rice black bug and brown planthopper during the vegetative to maturity stages.

Prevention strategies

For armyworm, stemborer, brown planthopper and black bug the prevention activities include plowing of infested fields immediately right after harvest and observance of the fallow period, and synchronous planting with cluster areas.

The physical killing, destruction of burrows, field sanitation and other community-based actions against rodents are also encouraged before the regular planting season.

Barrogo assured that the Regional Crop Protection Center is also on standby if LGUs and farmers need technical assistance or other interventions. (PNA)