“Maswerte tayo dahil tayo ang kauna-unahang nakaalam kung paano natin ikontrol ang fall armyworm (FAW) at ito’y sa pamamagitan ng PAMS o prevention, avoidance, monitoring and suppression. Ang pamamaraan na ito ang magiging basehan ng mga ibat-ibang bansa upang mapuksa ang FAW.”

Technical staff of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Mr. Christian Reyes stressed this in his message during the Field Day and Graduation of the DA-RFO I’s Farmer Field School on Integrated Pest Management (FFS-IPM) – PAMS for Sustainable Management of Fall Armyworm held at Brgy. Palospos, San Carlos City, Pangasinan on March 10, 2022.

Mr. Reyes said that with the pilot study conducted for 14-16 weeks, the FFS enrollees with the assistance of the Agricultural Technologist of San Carlos and the Technical Staff of DA were able to design relevant activities for effective management and control of fall armyworm.

The FFS-IPM was launched on Nov. 12, 2021 with twenty-five farmers from Brgy. Palospos as participants. One of the two sites conducted in San Carlos by the DA thru the Regional Crop Protection Center and the Research Division in collaboration with the FAO, the LGU of San Carlos thru the Office of the City Agriculturist and the private seed company, Bayer; the activity served as an avenue to formulate efficient and effective management and control of the fall armyworm which started to bring concern to the Ilocano corn farmers in the early part of CY 2020.

Ms. Estrellita Jacaban, City Agriculturist of San Carlos expressed gratitude to the project organizers for choosing San Carlos as the pilot site of the project as it provides the corn farmers in the area a first-hand information, thus making them more aware on how they would able to manage fall armyworm considering that San Carlos is one of the major corn-producing area in the region.

“Itong training na ito ay napakahalaga sa amin pati lalo na ang ating mga farmers dahil with this awareness sa mga technology na ito ay talagang ready na sila in case na umatake ang insektong ito sa amin,” Ms. Jacaban said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Maureen Mabilangan, one of the graduates of the FFS-IPM shared in an interview the learnings she has acquired from the month-long training giving her more options on how and her husband shall manage their corn production using and applying the technologies that she learned.

Finding the training as her privilege to be able to learn how to preserve and conserve the natural enemies in the farm, Ms. Mabilangan vowed to use bio control agents (BCA) such as trichogramma, lure trap and NPV or the nuclear polyhedrosis virus in controlling pests in their farm not only to reduce her cost of production but to preserve the environment with the reduction on the use of synthetic chemicals or insecticides.

Noting a 50 percent reduction on the cost of production by the use of BCA, Ms. Mabilangan likewise claimed to have increase in their production based on the cost and return analysis of the project with the increase of about 2,000 tons of yield from the 7 mt/ha into as high as 9.4 mt/ha. using the various technologies that she learned from the training.

Prior to the FFS graduation held in San Carlos, four more other sites also held the graduation ceremonies particularly at Barangays Leet and Balingueo, Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan on March 2 & 3, and at Barangays Cauplasan and Dalayap in Sta. Maria, Pangasinan and at Barangays Bantig and Bari in Asingan, Pangasinan on March 4,2022.

A total of 16 FFS sites were conducted in Pangasinan with 369 total graduates. DA-RFO Regional Executive Director Nestor D. Domennden is looking forward to implementing the same program in other provinces of the region.

With the various gains of the FFS training, the LGU San Carlos through the Office of the City Agriculturist vowed to continue on conducting activities of this kind to empower more farmers become prosperous and resilient at all times. ###

(Photos: FFS graduation in Sta. Barbara & San Carlos City, Pangasinan)

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