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Bagging protects pummelo from pests

May 8, 2010

By NOEL PROVIDOMay 5, 2010, 3:22pm

Pummelo has a good market potential. That’s because it is not only delicious and nutritious, it is also not perishable, hence it can be transported to distant markets. Local production, however, is insufficient and one big reason is pest infestation.

Good thing there’s a simple way to control infestation of pummelo, and that is bagging. Bagging is actually not new. This is done in other countries but usually for the control of fruit fly, which is not a major pest in the Philippines.

The major pest in the country that infests pummelo is Citrus Rind Borer (CRB). In fact it is considered as the most destructive pest as infestation has reached as high as 60 to 80 percent. Pesticide application is still the common way to control CRB, but this is expenssive and harmful to the health.

For these reasons, Fe Pabelo, senior agriculturist of the Bureau of Plant Industry-Davao National Crop Research and Development Center, conducted a study on the use various bagging materials as alternative to chemical spray. Six different bagging materials were tried, and these were newspaper, brown paper bag, flour sack, straw sack, plastic net bag, and plastic bag.

Pabelo has found that bagging can indeed control CRB, and that newspaper, plastic bag and modified plastic net bag have comparable advantage over other materials. With these materials, said Pabelo, infestation was zero.

The use of plastic bag was found to be the most economical. But the use of net bag was more advantageous as it can be recycled for the succeeding season. Also, the preparation of net bag can be modified to reduce cost.

The time of bagging is also crucial. Pabelo advises farmers to conduct bagging during the pre-bloom stage of pummelo “since the most critical stage of CRB infestation is during the first two to three months from button or pre-bloom stage.”

“Eggs,” she added, “are laid on the flowers or fruits then these are hatched into larvae that immediately bore into the fruits, thereby causing galls. Thus, bagging should be done before eggs were laid.” Moreover, “bagging results in pesticide-free fruits, which command premium price.”

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