LOS BAÑOS, Laguna—An inception meeting on the project Screening Indigenous Plants as Biopesticides and Product Development for Vegetables and Sugarcane Pests and Diseases (SIPBIO) was held at the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) headquarters recently.

Central Mindanao University (CMU) researchers Drs. Victor B. Amoroso and Florfe M. Acma as well as representatives from PCAARRD’s Forestry and Environment Research Division (FERD) led by Dr. Feliciano G. Calora Jr., attended the meeting.

The newly commenced R&D initiative targets to screen identified vascular plants as potential biopesticide and produce biopesticide products for vegetable and sugarcane pests and diseases.

Biopesticides, also called as biological pesticides, are pesticides derived from natural materials such as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain mineral which are classified into three categories, namely: microbial, plant, and biochemical pesticides.

Meanwhile, the landlocked province of Bukidnon, dubbed as the food basket of Northern Mindanao, plays an important role in providing food staples to neighboring provinces. Vegetables like tomato, squash, sweet potato, ginger, cabbage, gourds, and eggplants as well as sugarcane are among the top agricultural products of the region. Hence, it is essential that these crops are protected from pests and diseases to ensure the stability of supply.

At present, there is an increasing acceptance of integrating biopesticides in crop protection since it offers a more economical and environment-friendly alternative to traditional pesticides available in the market.

With this project, the locally-found plant species with potential biopesticide characteristics will be evaluated and subjected to tests to determine the active components and produce biopesticide products. This will give Bukidnon farmers a cheaper option to keep pests and diseases at bay while increasing farm productivity. (Mereyll Kyla P. Irader, DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Service)