DOST-PCAARRD official presents S&T updates on CSI management

Tuesday, September 25, 2018 12:00 AM    Views : 120by:Alissa Carol M. Ibarra, DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Services

Dr. Jocelyn E. Eusebio presents the S&T Interventions on the Management of Coconut Scale Insect at the 32nd National Coconut Week at SMX Convention Center, Pasay City on August 16, 2018.

PASAY City, Manila – A forum titled "Coco-coping with Pest Invasions" was held recently in celebration of the 32nd National Coconut Week at the SMX Convention Center.

The forum provided a venue for exchange of experiences on the coconut scale insect (CSI) management and updates on the status of its infestation. Experts discussed the basics of integrated pest management (IPM), its application, and use of biological control agents. The effect of pests on trade of coconut products as well as status of S&T initiatives on CSI management were also among the focus topics during the activity.

Dr. Jocelyn E. Eusebio, Director of the Crops Research Division (CRD), Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD), served as one of the resource speakers of the forum. She presented the S&T interventions on the management of CSI in the country and highlighted the DOST-PCAARRD supported R&D initiatives.

Dr. Eusebio discussed the DOST-PCAARRD Industry Strategic S&T Program (ISP) for Coconut which aims to increase yield (46 to 150 nuts/tree/year), reduce CSI infestation, improve the quality of planting materials, and increase income of coconut farming communities. An increase in coconut productivity in the country is expected to be achieved through the convergence of various technologies such as somatic embryogenesis, improved crop management practices, gene marker development, and IPM strategies against emerging pest.

Since the approval of Executive Order 169 or the Declaration of Emergency in CSI-affected areas in June 2014, DOST-PCAARRD has been actively supporting researches on CSI and the formulation of effective pest management strategy through R and D implementing agencies such as the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), De La Salle University (DLSU), and the Department of Agriculture – Regional Crop Protection Center (DA-RCPC). To date, DOST-PCAARRD has invested approximately 128.3 million pesos on CSI R&D initiatives.

Some of the major accomplishments highlighted by Dr. Eusebio were the morphology-based identification keys of armored scale insects and their natural enemies, geographical information system (GIS) maps on CSI pest infestation, CSI counting software for easy estimation of CSI population, CSI pest database as guide in formulation of policies for a proactive CSI management program, mass release of biological control agents (predators and parasitoids), and establishment of outdoor and indoor rearing facilities for Aspidiotus rigidus and Comperiella calauanica. Currently, an ongoing project addresses the CSI outbreak status in Zamboanga, and another project focuses on genomic-assisted approach towards insect resistance breeding.

Other speakers in the forum were: Dr. Luis I. Velasco, UPLB, Concept of IPM as a framework in decision making; Ms. Carmela Barradas-Rivera, Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), "Mandates of the BPI-National Plant Quarantine Services"; Ms. Johana C. Orense, PCA-Davao Research Center and Mr. Ralph S. Hamoy, PCA-Operations Branch, "CSI outbreak in Zamboanga Peninsula"; Ms. Marina B. Wahab, PCA-Region XIV, "CSI outbreak in Basilan"; Ms. Erlene C. Manohar, PCA-Region IV-A, "CSI invasion and recovery in CALABARZON"; and, Dr. Billy Joel M. Almarinez, DLSU, "Comperiella sp. as biocon for ecological protection."

With the updates and insights on the ongoing threats of pests to the coconut industry, current and future pest invasions in the country are expected to be managed effectively and accordingly using up-to-date IPM interventions and strategies.


S & T Trivia

" Dr. Nic Liquido pioneered the research on light-activated dyes that control many fruit flies. He is a University of the Philippines (UP) alumnus and former lab director of the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Research Service. "

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