Written by: Danica Louise C. Sembrano, DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Services
Coffee berry borer infestation (‘Hypothenemus hampei’) (Image credit: University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City)
A new project will design a detection system to differentiate the susceptible varieties from resistant local varieties of coffee to pests and diseases.
The said project, “Development of a Detection System for Pest and Disease Resistance in Philippine Coffee Varieties,” will be led by Dr. Ernelea P. Cao of the Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD). It is funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).
Coffee leaf rust infestation (CLR) (‘Hemileia vastatrix’) (Image credit: UPD, Diliman, Quezon City)
The detection system will use molecular markers to enable early resistance screening of local coffee varieties.
The project is expected to aid in avoiding the distribution and planting of affected coffee plants that may cause more losses to coffee farmers.
In her presentation, Dr. Cao explained that “coffee production has been most hampered by the berry borer and coffee leaf rust disease. Given this, a detection system will benefit our coffee growers, farmers, and researchers who can use the kit to identify the susceptible coffee varieties.”
Through this, the project team hopes to strengthen the local coffee industry and help in rehabilitating the coffee farms in Batangas and Cavite that have been destroyed by heavy ashfall during the eruption of Taal volcano in 2020.
The roles, objectives, activities, and expected outputs of the project were discussed during the virtual inception meeting held recently by DOST-PCAARRD.
In the meeting were the project team from UPD and key personnel of the Crops Research Division (CRD) of DOST-PCAARRD.