Friday, January 31, 2014

Insecticide use worsens rice pests attack--PhilRice

SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija – Farmers should reduce their use of insecticide to repel rice black bugs, as it could in fact instigate more attack by the rice pests.

          This was the warning issued by experts from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) which stated that use of insecticides has done little to ward of rice black bugs, which had reportedly attacked some rice fields in Central Luzon. The pest attack, when not properly controlled, can reportedly cause losses of up to 35 percent involving 10 adult rice black bugs per hill.

The first reported incidence of rice black bug attack was in Bonobono, Bataraza, in Southern Palawan in 1979. A major outbreak occurred in 1982, spreading towards Central up to Northern Palawan. However, massive and intensive insecticide applications failed to control the damages that covered 4,500 ha of rice fields.

          Entomologists Gertrudo Arida and Dr. Hoai Xuan Truong of the PhilRice’s crop protection division based at its central experiment station here, observed that up to now, insecticides are ineffective against rice black bugs because they kill known enemies of the rice black bugs.

“Insecticides should be used to a minimum so as not to kill the natural enemies of rice black bugs,” they said, citing these include wasps, ground and coccinellid beetle, wolf, lynx, and long-jawed spider, red ant and damsel bug.

Arida and Truong said damage brought by rice black bug can be prevented at the start of the planting season if farmers plant rice varieties with same maturity within a month of the barangay’s regular planting season. This scheme is effective since it breaks the pests’ life cycle.

          Instead of more insecticide, the PhilRice experts recommended the use of light as traps since the bugs are strongly attracted to high intensity light.

          Light trapping, according to them, should start five days before and after the full moon. The light used should have 2,000 to 3,000 watts during outbreaks which is set up every night to obtain the most number of bugs.

Effective light trapping is from 8 to 12 pm, the experts said.

          Other schemes to prevent pest infestation is through flooding, herding of ducks in the field, and sanitation also prevent pest infestation.

          Farmers should flood the field to submerge egg masses. Eggs that are submerged for more than 24 hours will no longer hatch. Ducks also feed on the bugs. However, herd the duck in the field a month after transplanting or when the plants are established. Farmers must also clean their field by removing the weeds as these serve as alternate hosts of the rice black bugs,” the PhilRice explained. (Manny Galvez)

Drilon: Congress will play a vital role in sustaining economic momentum, making growth felt by the poor

MANILA-Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today said the Congress is committed to act promptly on measures that will strengthen the country’s capacity to sustain a robust economic performance.   

The Senate leader’s statement came following the release of the country’s 2013 growth domestic product (GDP) recorded at 7.2 percent, surpassing government’s target of 6-7 percent and making the Philippine one of the fastest growing economies in Asia second only to China.

Drilon welcomed the report as a “continuing sign of the country’s improved economic policies under the Aquino administration,” but said that the highly impressive figure “needs to be sustained and be utilized to bring forth positive changes to the life of the common Filipino.”

“While we recognize the efficient management of the current administration and its fiscal managers has produced rewards for our economy in fiscal and monetary terms, the report overall would be better seen as another opportunity for the government to craft long-term solutions that will finally capacitate the socio-economic growth and overall improvement of our countrymen’s welfare,” he emphasized.  

“There is much work to do, especially in making our country much more competitive in terms of foreign investments, while at the same time making local industries stronger and better suited to participate in competition even against international rivals,” the senator added. 
“But more than that, we need to make sure that our rise in economic standing also delivers our nation’s poorest constituents to a better status in living, as the country’s wellbeing is the ultimate goal of public service,” Drilon pointed out.

The Senate chief acknowledged that the Congress will play a key role in ensuring that the improved economic growth will be sustained throughout the succeeding years, and vowed to work on legislation and policies that will encourage investments in agriculture, tourism, services and manufacturing constructions, thereby promoting further growth.

“The challenge is upon the Senate, along with other leading institutions, to pass legislation which will further fuel the economy, and more importantly, ensure that development is felt in all corners – and that means more jobs, better basic services, improved public infrastructures, among others,” Drilon said.”

Among the measures the Senate is highly considering are the rationalization of fiscal incentives to certain industries, the rationalization of the mining industry's fiscal regime, the amendment of the cabotage law, and amendments to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) charter, and measures to attract more foreign direct investments.

“We have to help the government sustain this economic momentum that was elusive for so many years, for this is the kind of growth that will eventually present us an array of opportunities in the years to come,” Drilon concluded. 


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