Tarlac farmers seek aid from TAU experts

A group of eggplant farmers in Sta. Maria, Camiling, Tarlac sought technical assistance from TAU experts about the wilting of their crops last March.

When TAU President Dr. Max P. Guillermo and a team of experts visited the infested crops of the farmers, they found out that an estimate of one (1) hectare of farmers’ land has been infested, and this infestation may spread to other nearby farms if not prevented.

The farmers were worried as this infestation can affect their livelihood. Eggplant is one of the major agricultural crops and one of the major sources of income of many farmers in Tarlac.

To assist the farmers, a team of experts from the College of Agriculture and Forestry (CAF) investigated and provided technical assistance to identify the problem and prevent further infestation in the area.

Headed by the Dean of College of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Edmar N. Franquera and Extension Coordinator Ms Lyka C. Abayon, the crop protection experts have found out that the main cause of this infestation was due to the Leucinodes orbonalis or Eggplant Fruit and Shoot Borer.

The team of experts composed of Dr. Tessie A. Boncato, Dr. Joseph T. Abad, and Ms. Jo-Anne Lynne Joy E. Duque explained that this borer is a moth species, and it is found in the tropics of Asia. They said that it is also a minor pest in the Americas.

According to the experts, this borer is very aggressive and detrimental during its final-instar larvae where it bores into the fruits. The infestation is characterized by small entrance holes closed by dried excrement and wilting. Further, severe damage will be experienced if there is a substantial population built up over several generations.

As an immediate response to eradicate the pests, the experts provided technical advice, ranging from chemical to biological control. The team also educated the farmers about the proper ways to eradicate the pests by distributing brochures. They also advised the farmers to collect soil samples for further analysis and so they could provide proper recommendations. (MABagsit, CAF)