By Stephanie Sevillano

(File photo)

MANILA – The Department of Agriculture (DA) said Wednesday it is eyeing to consult experts from the United States (US) to combat pest infestation affecting local mango production.

In a news release, the DA said it is willing to try products of a US-based biotechnology firm.

“The Department of Agriculture will invite experts from Sun & Earth Microbiology LLC, a Florida-headquartered biotechnology company, to help eliminate Cecid fly infestation that undermines Philippine mango production and export,” it said.

The agency said mango production in around 100,000 hectares of orchard has been affected in Palawan.

“The flies destroy up to 80 percent of mango fruits, with those affected showing brown scab-like spots. These pests usually start infesting mango trees shortly after flowering,” it added.

The Sun & Earth Microbiology LLC biotech company, meanwhile, plans to utilize “biological microbes” and “biological control agents” against the Cecid flies.

DA Undersecretary for Operations Roger Navarro, however, assured to discuss clearance concerns with the Food and Drug Administration for the needed products.

These products were reported to have successful test results in various countries including Venezuela, Colombia, and Vietnam.

Avian influenza-free

The DA, meanwhile, declared the Benguet province free from avian influenza or H5N1 strain infections.

In a separate statement, the DA attributed the event to immediate depopulation, cleaning, disinfection, biosecurity restrictions, and monitoring.

The DA earlier reported avian influenza cases in Baguio City, as well as in Atok, Buguias, Itogon, La Trinidad, Sablan, and Tublay in Benguet starting in February 2022. (PNA)