Masaganang Agrikultura, Maunlad na Ekonomiya!

DA steps up assistance to address armyworm infestation in Nueva Ecija, Tarlac

Author: DA-AFID | 19 January 2024

The Department of Agriculture has stepped up efforts to deal with armyworm infestation and provide assistance to affected onion farmers in several towns in Nueva Ecija and Tarlac.

With additional data from the DA Regional Field Office III, Bureau of Plant Industry director Gerald Glenn Panganiban reported that 366 hectares out of the 10,217 hectares of farm lands planted to onion have been infested by army worms—the caterpillar-like larvae stage of what would eventually become moths. Of the infested areas, only crops in 6.9 hectares were totally damaged while 359.1 hectares sustained partial damage, said Panganiban.

Affected areas are in the towns of Bongabon and Talevera, and Palayan City in Nueva Ecija, and the towns of Anao and San Manuel in Tarlac. No infestation were reported in Bataan, Pampanga and Zambales.

Around 87 percent of areas planted to onion have red varieties while 13 percent are planted with white onions. The balance are planted to shallots.

Armyworm are destructive pests that got their names from their army-like movement in agricultural fields. They usually consume turf grass but would eat any vegetation in their path. They can be controlled using neem oil-based sprays or with biological controls like earwigs, spiders, and predatory wasps.

Panganiban said that since December, the High Value Crops Development Program of the DA has provided 2.07 tons of onion seeds worth P30.4 million to farm areas in Central Luzon while BPI and the Regional Crop Protection Center has provided pheromone lures, neem oil-based insecticides and technical assistance to affected onion growers.

An additional 1.3 tons of red and white onion seeds worth P20.3 million and four cold storage for onions valued at P168 million will also be provided to onion-producing areas. Local government units also pledged to buy more organic insecticides and pheromone lures to deal with armyworms.

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