Laoag City, Ilocos Norte – The provincial government of Ilocos Norte has collaborated with the Department of Agriculture  (DA) and Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) to come up with pest management practices to eliminate the viral diseases affecting the production of the high-value crops in the province.

The recent production of garlic, mango, and dragon fruit in Ilocos Norte was affected due to the virus strains’ infestation.
“Our three main crops are suffering from viruses, which we have not quite figured out yet… They are taking a large toll on our agriculture produce, and our level of productivity has really taken a hit,” Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc said.

In a recent study conducted by the University of the Philippines Los Baños–Institute of Plant Breeding (UPLB-IPB) titled “Virus Indexing of Garlic Bulbs from Region I (Ilocos Region), II (Batanes), IVB (Mindoro) and VI (Iloilo) and from the IPB Collection By Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR),” there is a significant presence of viruses in the garlic bulbs of the Ilocos Province.

“The greatest infection among the garlic cloves tested came from Region I, with Ilocos Sur having mixed infection from 2 to 8 viruses while Ilocos Norte, from 2 to 4 viruses,” the research result stated.
Meanwhile, the mango growers lament from the kurikong infestation caused by cecid flies, which affects the quality as well as the production of mango fruits in the province.
The dragon fruit farmers are also experiencing fungal diseases on their plants, particularly Anthracnose which caused the halo-like concentric lesions on stems and fruits.

With these difficulties challenging the agriculture sector of the province, Governor Manotoc assured: “We will be assisting our Ilokano farmers in terms of compensation because we want to make sure that they receive the right compensation for the work they have put in over the past years.”