To ensure efficient rice crop health monitoring in the Philippines, the Pest Risk Identification and Management (PRIME) project conducted the National PRIME Annual Assessment (NPAA) Workshop on the 9th, 11th, and 25th of November 2020. The NPAA is an annual event that was conducted online this year and attended by representatives from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and agencies of the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA), mainly the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), the Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI), and Regional Field Offices (RFOs).
The event highlighted the progress of PRIME, particularly the monthly crop health monitoring conducted in rice-growing regions of the country. The workshop also served as a platform for the regional partners to communicate their needs, issues encountered in the implementation of pest monitoring, and recommendations to scale up pest surveillance and management. Moreover, NPAA participants recognized implementation gaps caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and discussed future plans to establish more monitoring sites and engage more farmers.
Ms. Wilma R. Cuaterno, Chief of the Crop Protection Division of DA-BPI, remarked the importance of the PRIME project in policy and decision making as it aligns with the mandate of the DA Department Order #9 to strengthen crop pest management in order to ensure food security and resiliency in the country.
In his message, Mr. Julian Lapitan, former Head of IRRI’s Partnerships Office and now a DA Technical Advisor on Rice Research and Rice Program Implementation, underscored the value of integrating PRIME with other DA-IRRI collaborative projects such as Rice Crop Manager and NextGen, among others. According to Mr. Lapitan, an integrated crop management approach, where available technologies complement and inform each other, can maximize yield and income benefits for farmers. He also noted the significance of investing in capacity building, not only in technical aspects but also in leadership development, to promote better collaboration among partners.
PRIME regional partners visit and monitor rice crop health for over 2,000 rice fields every month. Through the project-developed pest surveillance protocol, a standardized procedure for crop health assessment using smartphones is adopted by its partners from the RFOs and local government units. The pest surveillance data are used as a basis for developing pest risk advisories, as well as pest management strategies and tactics to help farmers reduce crop losses due to pests and diseases.
PRIME is a four-year project funded by the DA through its National Rice Program and the Bureau of Agricultural Research with BPI, PhilRice, and IRRI as lead implementing agencies. PRIME aims to understand risk factors for pest outbreaks and identify appropriate management strategies and tactics to reduce crop losses.
Learn more about PRIME by watching the video below:
Be updated on PRIME activities at https://pestrisk.da.gov.ph/.
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