NABUA, Camarines Sur—Twenty-five agricultural technicians and data collectors from Albay, Camarines Sur and Masbate participated in the Retooling on Survey and Early Warning of Cassava Arthropod Pest and Diseases in Region V conducted by the Department of Agriculture-5 held recently at Macagang Hotel here.

DA Bicol Regional Cassava Focal Person Engr. Danilo L. Aman said that this retooling is an offshoot of his cross-country study mission in Vietnam and Thailand sponsored by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

In Southeast Asia, cassava crop health and marketing-utilization are considered a collective concern.

OIC-Regional Technical Director for Operations and Extension Rodel P. Tornilla underscored the potentials of Cassava for food, feed, fertilizer and fuel. The learnings from this training once shared to the farmers will greatly benefit them considering the big potential of cassava in the market.

Aman disclosed that there is no updated profile of pests and diseases of Cassava, thus, this survey will provide the necessary information needed to identify new pests and diseases.

Topics discussed include Diseases of Cassava, Insect Pest of Cassava, and Protocol on the nationwide survey on cassava arthropod pest and disease.

Meanwhile, DA Bicol Science Research Specialist II Norman Concepcion discussed the different insect pest of cassava. Mealy bugs and scale insects were observed in the Partido area.

DA Bicol Senior Science Research Specialist Lolita B. Pama said that the most common cassava disease is the Brown-Spot which was observed in Goa, Camarines Sur, Legazpi in Albay and Cawayan in Masbate.

The participants from Legazpi, Tiwi, Goa, Sipocot and Cawayan visited a cassava farm in Baao, Camarines Sur and found out that some plants were infected with Witch’s Broom, Brown Spot, Anthracnose, and Bacterial Leaf Blight Diseases.

In a memorandum issued by Undersecretary for Operations Ariel T. Cayanan, the use of TapioGard as a treatment and antibiotic from PhytoPlasma Disease and Witches’ Broom Disease is required. TapioGard is approved for use by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority.

According to Cawayan data collector Emily Riviral, this is her first time to attend such training but recognized its importance in their 100-ha cassava farm in Masbate. Cassava farming is their main source of livelihood. Their granulated cassava is brought to San Miguel Corporation in Cebu. She also sells native kakanin made of cassava. If they will produce good quality and healthy cassava, they can increase their price, thus, improving their lives. (jaysonmgonzales with photos by Hermito Privaldos)