Bicol rice farmers alerted on tungro

PILI, Camarines Sur— The Department of Agriculture has alerted rice farmers in Bicol about the reports of some 122 hectares of rice infected with the Rice Tungro Virus (RTV) in the town of Libon, Albay.

Said virus results to stunted growth of the rice plant and a reduction in the number of panicles.

Infected plants have a yellow-orange tinge on the leaves. This starts in clusters and later spreads to other rice plants.

According to Giovanni Valenciano ,OIC –Chief, Regional  Crop Pest Management Center some of the reasons for the occurrence of tungro infestations are the presence of  green leafhoppers (GLH) which serve as vectors or carriers of the virus;  the practice of some farmers of continuous planting of rice in the field without allowing for  rest or   fallow period; non-synchronous planting of farmers within the contiguous  area which allows for the completion of the life cycle of destructive insects like the green leafhoppers; the use of rice varieties which are susceptible to the tungro virus or the continuous use of the same rice variety  for successive cropping.

The DA has initially provided 20 liters of insecticide to be sprayed in the affected areas in Libon. Said amount can cover some 80 hectares.

A few years back this viral rice disease was also major problem of the farmers in the a town of Polangui particularly in barangay Balangibang.  It was only when the  farmers heeded the agriculture deparment's recommendation to practice synchronous planting that the infections in the area were minimized. (With report from DA)