Win­ning the war against BCR in am­palaya

Agriculture - - Contents -

IN THE PHILIP­PINES, pa­paya is com­monly grown on small farms rang­ing from one to five hectares in area, and with a pro­duc­tiv­ity pe­riod of around three to four years. From 2011 to 2015, the Philip­pines pro­duced an av­er­age of 16,000 met­ric tons of pa­paya. How­ever, the loom­ing ef­fects of bac­te­rial crown rot or BCR can crip­ple the growth of the pa­paya in­dus­try, par­tic­u­larly in the poor re­gions of South Cota­bato and Bukid­non in Min­danao.

A CRIP­PLING DIS­EASE BCR has al­ready in­fil­trated the Philip­pine pa­paya in­dus­try. At its on­set, it can spoil an en­tire pa­paya plan­ta­tion, wiping out at least 50 per­cent of the trees. This can trans­late into pro­duc­tion losses that can reach mil­lions of pe­sos worth of dam­ages to the to­tal pa­paya pro­duc­tion.

Rapidly, thriv­ing busi­nesses col­lapse; in­vest­ments are wasted; and small­holder farm­ers in­cur losses. This will cre­ate in­sta­bil­ity in the liveli­hoods of farm­ers, and have ad­verse ef­fects on food se­cu­rity. From a macro per­spec­tive, this could sig­nal a re­duc­tion in the do­mes­tic sup­ply of pa­paya or even a de­cline in the coun­try’s ex­port earn­ings from the com­mod­ity.

Bac­te­rial crown rot, also called bac­te­rial canker or bac­te­rial de­cline, is one of the most im­por­tant dis­eases of pa­paya in the Philip­pines. Once in­fected, a plant’s stem and other grow­ing points will rot, wilt, and even­tu­ally col­lapse, while its leaves, flow­ers, and peti­oles lose their vi­brance as they fade and brown. The stench from the rot­ting plant tis­sues linger in the in­fected area.

FIGHT­ING BCR Rec­og­niz­ing the dam­age that BCR can bring about, a team of ex­perts is con­duct­ing the project “In­te­grated dis­ease man­age­ment strate­gies for the pro­duc­tive, prof­itable and sus­tain­able pro­duc­tion of high qual­ity pa­paya fruit in the south­ern Philip­pines and Aus­tralia.” The ex­perts are from the Univer­sity of the Philip­pines Los Baños (UPLB) and the Davao Na­tional Crop Re­search, De­vel­op­ment and Pro­duc­tion Sup­port Cen­ter (DNCRDPSC). They are work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Aus­tralian Cen­tre for In­ter­na­tional Agri­cul­tural Re­search (ACIAR) and the Philip­pine Coun­cil for Agri­cul­ture, Aquatic and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Re­search and De­vel­op­ment of the De­part­ment of Science and Tech­nol­ogy (PCAARRD-DOST).

The Pa­paya In­te­grated Dis­ease Man­age­ment (IDM) Project is part of the ACIAR-DOST-PCAARRD collaborative Hor­ti­cul­ture Pro­gram, which fo­cuses on se­lected fruits and veg­eta­bles to im­prove food se­cu­rity and the liveli­hoods of small­holder farm­ers.

In essence, the project team seeks to iden­tify what causes the BCR and its sur­vival, how it is trans­mit­ted, and how it can be con­trolled or man­aged. In­for­ma­tion gath­ered through the project will be pack­aged as part of the IDM strate­gies.

The project team will work with Del Monte, Su­mifru, and the Tupi Pa­paya Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of South Cota­bato for ex­ten­sion and dis­sem­i­na­tion of the knowl­edge and tech­nolo­gies de­vel­oped.

Through the project, the species as­so­ci­ated with BCR has been suc­cess­fully iden­ti­fied—an im­por­tant achieve­ment since de­ter­min­ing the causal or­gan­ism of BCR is vi­tal in dis­ease di­ag­no­sis and in de­vel­op­ing man­age­ment prac­tices.

Ini­tial tri­als showed that the BCR pathogen is nei­ther seed-borne nor soil trans­mis­si­ble, but red spi­der mites ap­pear to trans­mit BCR to healthy plants af­ter being ex­posed to in­fected ones.

Fur­ther tri­als will be con­ducted to con­firm and sup­ple­ment re­search on dis­ease trans­mis­sion.

PA­PAYA SE­LEC­TION The team is also screen­ing pa­paya germplasm in the Philip­pines to find lines tol­er­ant or re­sis­tant to BCR. From this study, it was ob­served that BCR-in­fected trees showed re­growth of the stem. This dis­cov­ery will help iden­tify pa­paya se­lec­tions that are tol­er­ant to BCR.

Field tri­als to de­velop In­te­grated Pest Man­age­ment-based strate­gies to man­age BCR will be im­ple­mented at the DNCRDPSC once en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions be­come suit­able for the tests.

Im­ple­men­ta­tion of IDM strate­gies is ex­pected to gen­er­ate ben­e­fits other than pre­vent­ing the spread of BCR.

The man­age­ment prac­tices being de­vel­oped will strengthen farmer-re­searcher part­ner­ships as com­mu­ni­ca­tion and trust are en­hanced.

The con­ven­tional BCR man­age­ment prac­tice of ap­ply­ing cop­per-based fungi­cides poses health risks to farm­ers and con­trib­utes to soil, wa­ter, and air pol­lu­tion; its po­ten­tial harm to farmer health and the en­vi­ron­ment, cou­pled with its low ef­fec­tive­ness in manag­ing BCR, calls for better al­ter­na­tives to be de­vel­oped through the project.

BCR man­age­ment strate­gies The project en­vi­sions pro­duc­ing a man­age­ment strat­egy that will re­duce the over­all im­pact of BCR dis­ease by 40 per­cent through yield in­crease, cost re­duc­tion, and en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity. Rev­enues of small­holder pa­paya farm­ers are ex­pected to rise as a re­sult.

Em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for ru­ral work­ers will spring from larger land­hold­ers ex­pand­ing their pro­duc­tion lev­els.

Ul­ti­mately, win­ning the BCR bat­tle through in­te­grated dis­ease man­age­ment is ex­pected to im­prove food se­cu­rity and the liveli­hoods of the small­holder pa­paya farm­ers.

The plant’s leaves, flow­ers, and peti­oles will lose their vi­brance as they fade and turn brown due to BCR.

The loom­ing ef­fects of BCR can crip­ple the growth of the pa­paya in­dus­try in the coun­try.

Photo shows the man­i­fes­ta­tion of bac­te­rial crown growth.

Once in­fected, the plant’s stem and other grow­ing points will rot, wilt, and even­tu­ally col­lapse.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.