Farmers in two local government units (LGUs) in southern Negros Occidental reported PHP2.445 million worth of production losses due to rice grain bug infestation.
A report of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) as of Wednesday showed that worst-hit were rice plantations in Pontevedra town where 33 farmers in 59 hectares incurred PHP2.053 million in losses.
In Himamaylan City, affected were nine farmers with a total of 9.04 hectares damaged amounting to P391,776.
According to the International Rice Research Institute, this type of bug destroys rice by sucking out the contents of developing grains from pre-flowering spikelets to soft dough stage, therefore causing unfilled or empty grains and discoloration.
Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino said in a report to Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. that the OPA distributed 31 packs of metarhizium anisopliael, a biological insect control, to both LGUs sourced from the Department of Agriculture-6 Regional Crop Protection Center.
He added that the OPA Crop Protection Team with their counterparts in the two localities conducted pest monitoring and assessment and information campaign for pest surveillance management.
Masculino urged affected LGUs to regularly monitor rice areas especially those still in tillering (sapling) to booting (reproductive) stage.
Last November, rice grain bug infestation was also reported in Sipalay City, affecting 221 hectares of plantations owned by 208 farmers. The OPA then reported losses worth PHP8.3 million.
The Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) last month approved the coverage for new rice pests such as rice bug (waya-waya) and rice grain bug.
In Negros Occidental, farms damaged by rice grain bug will be covered through the Negros First Universal Crop Insurance Program in partnership with the PCIC. (PNA)