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Last May 25, 2022 via zoom, the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP), an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology, in collaboration with DOST Cordillera Autonomous Region, presented research findings related to pesticides reliance during its Regional Basic Research Caravan (RBRC). On its second year, the RBRC is brought to the seventeen (17) regions of the country to share findings of NRCP-funded projects that are relevant to the needs of the locale.1

 The RBRC in CAR was graced by Dr. Nordalyn B. Pedroche, Director of Higher Educational Regional Research Center of Benguet State University and co-researcher of Dr. Luciana M. Villanueva of the NRCP-funded research project, “Entomopathogenic Nematodes (EPNs) for the Management of Soil Insects and Plant Parasitic Nematodes towards Sustainable Production of Semi-temperate Vegetables and Strawberry in Mountain Province and Benguet.”  presented “Unseen Heroes in Benguet Farms” shared the basic research results on the use of Entomopathogenic Nematodes (EPNs) for the Management of Soil

Insects and Plant Parasitic Nematodes towards sustainable production of semi-temperate vegetables and strawberry in Mountain Province and Benguet.

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In photo: Dr. Nordalyn Pedroche talks on the “Unseen Heroes in Benguet Farms,” based on an NRCP-funded project

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In photo: Snapshot of Dr. Pedroche’s presentation. EPN eating the bacteria feeding on the dead pests

 Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs), the unsung heroes of the soil, form a part of our diverse ecosystem and play a crucial role in keeping soils healthy.  Agroecological or nature-friendly farming methods like organic help create a healthy, living soil, without the need for harmful pesticides and chemicals. Farming with nature results in a more diverse range of microbes living underground. This helps crops to grow without the need for artificial fertilizers, building soil fertility naturally using compost and clover.

“We consider EPNs as our significant resource. We know that these organisms will play an important part in our integrated pest management programs and consider them as our viable alternatives to create programs to control and impede pests without sacrificing soil fertility”, conveys Dr. Pedroche as she explains how viable the contribution of these unseen heroes is in the farms of Benguet and Mountain Province.

There is no doubt that crops require specific chemical elements to thrive and produce, but it is not the full picture.  The use of intensive pesticide has devastating effects on earthworms, beetles, springtails, and other organisms.

Our soils are bustling with life, home to a quarter of the Earth’s species, from beetles and springtails to worms, spiders, nematodes, and billions of other microorganisms. Healthy soils help in combating climate change, feeding the planet’s population, and preventing flooding and droughts.

By farming in a way that works with nature, known as agroecology, we can learn to harness the power of how the soil microbe biomes and related soil organisms work together to make nutrients accessible for plants and protect against diseases and pests. Understanding and harnessing these natural ecosystems is key to agricultural productivity and improved plant health.

As Dr. Marieta Bañez-Sumagaysay, NRCP Executive Director, concludes the sixth episode of RBRC Year 2, she highlighted that the thrust for diversification through the use of research-based information for effective management of food supply is beneficial not just to the rural economy of Benguet and Mountain Province, but also the country's overall economy. She encourages policy makers to formulate more contextualized approaches for reaching the underserved and remote areas that still have to benefit from the advances of science and technology.

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In photo: Dr. Marieta Bañez-Sumagaysay during the RBRC CAR

In a related matter, the 6th Regional Basic Research Caravan on 31 May 2022 will feature the research results of Dr. Noelynna Ramos titled, “Investigation of Potential Paleo-Tsunami Deposits in Western Philippines and their Implications for Large-Magnitude Offshore Earthquakes,” in partnership with DOST-Regional Office IX. This is a hybrid event wherein participants can join via zoom or be with the resource person physically at Meeting Room 5, Philippine International Convention Room, Vicente Sotto St., Pasay City. Please visit, https://bit.ly/caravan9

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