A program to increase the productivity of fresh and processing tomato at the municipalities of Sinait, Ilocos Sur, Paoay; Batac, and Sarrat in Ilocos Norte, were monitored and evaluated recently.
The program, with its three component projects, looks into the development of integrated crop management, use of adaptable technologies, and site-specific pest and nutrient management to achieve its goals.
Leilani D. Pelegrina, Industry Strategic S&T Program (ISP) Manager for Vegetables from the Crops Research Division of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (CRD, DOST-PCAARRD), led the activity along with the program and project leaders from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and Northern Foods Corporation (NFC).
Monitoring and evaluation showed that the initial field trials of the three component projects have been set-up.
Project 1 on disease management tests the efficacy of the healthy seedling technology for the management of most prevalent diseases in Ilocos Region – tomato yellow leaf curl disease, early and late blight, bacterial, and Fusarium wilt.
Focusing on insect pest management, Project 2 will test the efficacy of the modified release strategy of Trichogramma chilonis in combination with Nucleopolyhedrosis viruses (NPVs) to control major pests of tomatoes such as tomato armyworm (Helicoverpa armigera) and tomato cutworm (Spodoptera litura).
Project 3 will focus on nutrient management. It will test different fertilizer formulations to know the site-specific nutrient management program for tomatoes in the major tomato-producing municipalities in the region.
The monitoring team also visited the experimental sites in Brgy. Ricudo, Sinait, Ilocos Sur; Brgy. Cabagoan in Paoay, and Brgy. Quiligsur in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
Dr. Filomena C. Sta. Cruz, (Program and Project 1 leader), Dr. Bonifacio F. Cayabyab (Project 2 leader), and Dr. Annalissa L. Aquino (Project 3 Leader), explained that the efficacy of the said technologies are still being analysed. According to them, the yield data of tomato is one of its important indicators.
Dr. Sta. Cruz and Dr. Cayabyab also established an experimental site at the NFC experimental station in Brgy. Quiligsur, Batac, Ilocos Norte.
The site was established to test the efficacy of the carrageenan technology especially when the site had the highest pest pressure. Dr. Sta. Cruz said that the development of a tolerant or resistant variety of tomato against major insect pests and diseases may only be the ultimate solution to help the farmers increase their production.
The team also visited the NFC tomato processing plant. Engr. Norberto D. Mendoza, Vice President for Operations of NFC, eagerly toured the team around the processing plant and explained the detailed processes of turning fresh tomatoes turn into paste.
Farmer-cooperators of the experimental sites and research staff of Projects 1–3 also attended the activity.