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Rice technical employees get training in order to combat the autumn armyworm infestation.

The Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) has enlisted the help of the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) to undertake intense training among rice technical employees in order to prepare them for a potential fall armyworm (FAW) outbreak.

Crop protection expert Genaro Rillon of the Department of Agriculture-Philippines Rice (DA-PhilRice) said on Tuesday that tools developed by CABI in collaboration with pest experts from Malaysia, India, the United Kingdom, Africa, and other parts of the world are being introduced to rice research and development workers through online sessions.

49 researchers and extension workers from the Department of Agriculture-Philippines Rice, the Bureau of Plant Industry, the Regional Crop Protection and Management Center (RCPMC) in the Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon, as well as local government units in Pampanga, Tarlac, and Pangasinan were trained on identifying and managing FAW, according to him.

Rillon said that the training is very pertinent and relevant since the Department of Agriculture’s current management policy on FAW only applies to maize.

Rice production differs from maize cultivation, which necessitates the adoption of a procedure, according to the professor in a statement.

Evelyn Valdez, project team leader of the DA-PhilRice FAW project, stressed the need of early preparation since any insect incursion on rice poses a danger to food safety.

It was noticed that FAW was hurting not just maize, but also rice harvests in Cagayan and other areas of Region 2 during the previous cropping season.

Minda Flor Aquino, the director of the DA-RCPMC, stated on May 20 that the majority of the damaged rice fields were in the seedling stage.

Technical briefings held in impacted and nearby rice fields by the Department of Agriculture (DA) Cagayan Valley urged farmers to look out for early signs of FAW infestation, such as cut/damaged leaf edges and the presence of larvae in the region.

The Department of Agriculture-Philippines Rice (DA-PhilRice) hopes to develop and disseminate pest management protocols for rice technicians and extension workers, who are closely involved in rice-based farming systems during times of pest infestation, in collaboration with pest experts from CABI, according to Rillion.

CABI is an international organization with extensive experience in providing technical knowledge and support to farmers and environmental organizations dealing with agricultural and environmental issues.

A grant from the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research is supporting the DA-PhilRice and CABI project titled โ€œMonitoring the Occurrence, Host Plant Specificity, and Management of the Fall Armyworm in- and around-Rice Ecosystems in Selected Provinces in the Philippines,โ€ which is funded by the Department of Agriculture.

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