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Armyworms ravage 923 hectares of farmland in NegOcc

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Armyworms have destroyed 923.5 hectares of cornfields and sugar plantations in 75 barangays of 15 towns and cities in Negros Occidental, as of July 5, according to reports of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist.

Affected are the cities of Sagay, Silay, Bago, Escalante, Kabankalan, and Himamaylan, as well as the municipalities of Ilog, Murcia, La Castellana, Hinobaan, Candoni, Binalbagan, Cauayan, Isabela, and Moises Padilla.

The livelihood of 1,429 farmers have been affected.

A total of 843 ha. of cornfields and 80 ha. of sugarcane plantations were damaged by armyworms, said  OPA officer in charge Dina Genzola in reports submitted to Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson.

Lacson yesterday said that the provincial government of Negros Occidental received 50 liters of insecticides from the Regional Crop Protection Center of the Department of Agriculture, which is enough for spraying more or less 100 hectares of crops affected by armyworms.

They will continue spraying activities on affected areas, he said.

The governor added that the provincial government also allocated a P3 million additional budget for insecticides for future spraying.

Five of the six local government units in the 5th district of Negros Occidental were hit by armyworms.

Experts from the National Crop Protection Center of University of the Philippines – Los Baños (NCPC-UPLB) arrived last week in Negros Occidental to help farmers contain the fall armyworm infestation in affected LGUs.

Rep. Emilio Bernardino Yulo (5th district, Negros Occ.) disclosed that the team of experts have recommended the chemicals to be used, the brand names they did not divulge yet, in the absence of emergency use permits, noting that it is not specifically for sugarcane.

They also recommended a two-pronged attack in the effort to eradicate armyworms, including the use of chemicals and bio control, wherein insects eat armyworms, Yulo said.

He added that the UP team of experts is slated to submit their official report and recommendations to OPA.*

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