Army worms destroy 40 percent of onion farms in Pangasinan town
This town has racked up P5 million in losses from an invasion of army worms in nearly 900 hectares of onion plantations in 39 barangays.
A resolution declaring a state of calamity in Bayamban was passed on Monday by the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) and is still waiting the signature of Mayor Cezar Quiambao who has yet to return from a trip to Manila.
Armyworm is a type of pest, usually brought by butterflies to farmlands at nighttime and breeds in grassy patches, with every female worm laying about 800 to 1,000 eggs especially during cold seasons. These eggs could hatch into a million worms.
Officer-in-charge Artemio Buezon of the Bayambang Municipal Agriculture Office said they have tried fighting the army worms with different chemical and organic pesticides but their efforts have so far been futile.
“We even tried the organic pesticide, composed of crushed charcoal and chili fruit, but it has little effect,” Buezon said.
A pesticide called Exalt from Baguio City is currently being applied in some infested areas which has yielded encouraging results.
Last year, army worms invaded squash plantations in the villages of Mangabul and San Gabriel 2nd but the infestation did not spread to other barangays.
“This year’s climate is more favorable for the breeding of army worms,” Buezon said.
With the declaration of state of calamity, the municipal government will allocate funds for helping the affected farmers.
“We will be giving free fertilizers and pesticides that can be used by the farmers in the next cropping season, while we also wait for the aid from the Department of Agriculture,” Buezon said.
He urged the farmers to plant different varieties of crops in every planting season, to avoid total devastation, in case the main crop’s harvest fails, such as in the case of the onions this season.
Bayambang has a total of 2,300 hectares of onion plantations. (PNA)