PPS-Visayas Division conducts training workshops in Mushroom Production and Phytophthora Disease Management

Four separate trainings on Mushroom Production were conducted at the Dept. of Pest Management by Prof. Yolanda C. Mangaoang, the departments' Mycologist. This is in response to requests of several individuals and groups who are interested to learn about the basics of mushroom culture. Three of these trainings consisted of three modules, namely: Straw Mushroom Production, Oyster Mushroom Production, and Mushroom Spawn Production.

The first training was held last December 12-14, 2007 with a total of nine (9) participants coming from Abuyog and McArthur Leyte and consisted of two groups. The first group planned to establish a family business while the second group consisted of members of a cooperative based in Abuyog, Leyte. The cooperative sought to engage in mushroom project that will utilize coconut coir dust as substrate.

The second training held last May 12-13, 2008 was participated by some staff of DPM and NARC. The training equipped them more about the steps in mushroom growing with the hope of engaging in this venture in the future and to enable them to assist in the mushroom extension program of the department.

The third one held last October 22-24, 2008 was attended by five (5) participants coming from Tacloban and San Miguel, Leyte, San Jorge Samar, and Cebu. Three of the trainees are involved in the Income Creating Opportunities in Technology project (ICOT-P) of the Provincial Agriculturist Office in Tacloban, Leyte. This project implements mushroom growing as a livelihood opportunity in DepEd National High Schools all over the Leyte province. One participant is an instructor from Samar State College of Agriculture and Forestry who will be starting a mushroom project in his school and another one is a private entrepreneur from Negros Oriental.

The fourth training conducted last May 27, 2008 was on Mushroom Starter Culture Preparation. This was requested by four individuals from McArthur, Leyte who are at present engaged in a mushroom family business after their training at DPM.

A "Training-Workshop on Phytopththora Disease Management" was held at the Dept. of Pest Management last October 28-29, 2008. This was organized by Dr. Lucia M. Borines, the jackfruit component leader of the new ACIAR-funded Hort 2007/067/02 "Integrated Management of Phytophthora Diseases of Durian and Jackfruit in Southern Philippines" with the support from the DPM head and staff. The workshop which was participated by researchers, extension workers and jackfruit farmers in Leyte and Samar was a re-echo of a similar workshop conducted by Dr. David Guest and Dr. Rosalie Daniel, of the University of Sydney in Australia, the project leader and manager, respectively, of the same project.

Article by:

Dr. Lucia M. Borines

PPS-Visayas Division

A Date with the 1st PPS President

You must be kidding! Sounds good to be true, but it did happen!

Mr. Ceferino "Ka Cef" Baniqued informed the current PPS Officers and Board Members that Dr. Mario O. San Juan, the first President of the Philippine Phytopathological Society shall be coming to the Philippines to spend a vacation. Considering that this is a rare opportunity, the Board decided to invite both Ka Cef and Dr. San Juan to Los Banos. The meeting took place at the Kamayan Restaurant at Calauan, Laguna last May 23, 2008.

After the sumptuous lunch, the Board gave an update about the activities of the Society through a powerpoint presentation and presented him with latest copies of the PPS Newsletter and Journal. The PPS Website was also shown to him.

Dr. San Juan's response indicated his joy and appreciation - knowing that the Society has managed to keep up with the challenges of the times; although he noticed that all of the Board members were all females. Furthermore, he gave the Board Members advise about some aspects of the Society and even gave his contact numbers so we could keep in touch.

“Plant Doctors on Wheels”

The Philippine Phytopathological Society, Inc. (PPS) spearheaded the holding of two Farmer's Forum cum Pest Clinic in two areas in Laguna. Dubbed as "Plant Doctors on Wheels", experts in weeds, insect pests, and diseases from the different member societies of the Pest Management Council of the Philippines Inc. (PMCP) visited farmers in two communities to share their expertise. The first was held on November 26, 2008 in Bayog, Los Banos while the second was held on February 4, 2009 in San Benito, Victoria. In Bayog, Los Banos, farmers grow rice or ornamental plants such as asther while in San Benito, Victoria, farmers grow honey dew melon and watermelon.

During these meetings, farmers had the opportunity to put forward their concerns about their crops in terms of pests and diseases and at the same time brought diseased samples. In turn, the "Doctors" inspected the diseased samples and made recommendations to address the various concerns of the farmers.

Both activities were conducted in coordination with the local officials of the respective communities and with the support of the Pest Management Council of the Philippines, Inc.

The President’s Report

In my first week as President of PPS, I requested for the PPS constitution and by-laws from Dr. Dory Dizon to study its purpose and objectives and the duties and responsibilities of each officers. From these, I based the PPS program plan for the year. I learned that PPS presidency is more than giving appointments to committee members, supporting a scholar, having connection to Plant Pathology societies abroad and discussing the next project and the coming PMCP convention activities. PPS was founded on the ideals of providing information and knowledge on the latest developments and research advances in plant diseases and disease management to its members, farmers, and other interested individuals through paper publications, fora, trainings for members and other interested persons, and especially, reaching the farmers to help them solve their crops' disease and pest problems. To make this happen, it requires commitment, cooperation and selflessness among the officers and members of PPS. Without these traits, excuses to let the mission undone will always be justified. Consequently, abilities and talents become futile. But it is noteworthy that this year, many of the officers and members of the Board of Directors of PPS have these characters. They sacrificed their time, money, and effort in making this year's advocacy of PPS to come about. You know who you are dear PPS BOD members and I salute and thank you!

During the first meeting of the 2008-2009 PPS Board of Directors, I presented the PPS program plans. Fortunately, Mr. Ceferino Baniqued and Dr. Mario San Juan (the bedrocks of PPS) visited us on that day and we were all grateful for their desire to support the society with their counsel and even on financial matters.

Based on the objectives of PPS, that 1) we will promote the application of scientific knowledge in the field of disease management and dissemination of the same to the farmers and other interested persons and that 2) we will encourage the interchange of technical information, scientific knowledge, and ideas among members, we had the following accomplishments for 2008-2009:

1. Implemented the project plan last year which we called "Plant Doctors on Wheels". Our aim was to help the farmers of Laguna in solving their crop's disease problem through collaboration with Provincial Agricultural Office of Laguna and some identified baranggay captains whose farmer constituents need our assistance. During the first PMCP meeting, I presented our intention to hold farmers' forum, pest clinic, and seminar on crop diseases and management in different baranggays of Laguna and later on to other regions. Everyone accepted this idea and it was agreed that it will be a concerted effort of everybody (PPS, PAE, WSSP, and other PMCP member organizations). PMCP took charge of the travel fund and miscellaneous expenses for this activity. PPS spearheaded and coordinated two Farmers' Fora in Bayog, Los Baños, Laguna (with 35 farmers) and San Benito, Victoria, Laguna (with 48 farmers) in November 26, 2008 and in February 4, 2009, respectively. In both fora, it was very clear that most farmers were not aware of the proper use of pesticides and fungicides. Seemingly, farmers were not conscious of the dangers of careless disposal of the chemical bottles along the street, specifically in San Benito, Victoria as observed on our way home after the forum. This was discussed during the PMCP meeting and all agreed that the team should return to that baranggay to further educate the

farmers in handling pesticides. In Victoria, the group identified gummy stem blight as the primary cause of the death of thousands of honey dew and watermelon plants which were at their early reproductive stage. Proper cultural practices were recommended to farmers to minimize further damage.

2. Held trainings on Banana Virus indexing using ELISA in June 2008 and "Plant Disease Diagnostics" for a more reliable and accurate disease detection and identification in March 25-27, 2009. Three modules of the training on Plant Disease Diagnostics were simultaneously held (Serological techniques, Identification and management of plant nematodes and Seed health testing), which were participated by trainees from both public and private companies. Some of them were motivated to become members of PPS and so, we had an oath-taking for the new PPS members at the closing ceremony.

Publication of four Compendia on Major Diseases of Important Food and Biofuel Crops in the Philippines was another plan of the Board of Directors. Officers and PPS members were assigned to do the write ups based on their expertise following a standard format with Dr. Lily Ann D. Lando as the Editor. Some authors have already submitted their articles to Dr. Lando. Fund was requested from DA-BAR, PMCPFI and other institutions for documentation and printing costs.

Volume 43 of our Journal of Tropical Plant Pathology (2007 issue) was already released for circulation by our editor, Dr. Christian Joseph R. Cumagun. But volume 44 is not yet complete due to deficiency in research papers submitted for publication. In the 2007 President's Report of Dr. Cumagun, he emphasized that we should aim to make our journal accredited by the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) to elevate its status to an international or Asian setting. This desire and passion must be passed

on and must sink in to the members to motivate everyone to contribute research papers required for the regular issue of the journal. on and must sink in to the members to motivate everyone to contribute research papers required for the regular issue of the journal.

Although communications now-a-days are so easy, we could hardly receive response or news from different PPS Regional Divisions, seemingly because of their busyness or focus on other important matters. But, I am grateful for the intention of many members to attend the annual convention despite the economic crisis that we often hear.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sustaining associates namely: Leads Agri, Arysta LifeScience Phils., Inc., Dow Agro, DuPont, Syngenta, Kemistar, and Bayer Crop Science for their continuous financial support that keeps our journal and other activities going.

As gratitude, a special mention is given to a colleague in Plant Pathology and a PPS member, Director Cesar Rodriguez of DA- CAR in supporting our fellowship night dinner.

Finally, it is my ardent hope and prayer to our Almighty God that PPS will continue to be a better, credible, and respectable association composed of men and women of integrity that will make an impact in Agricultural Science through viable technologies and research outputs that will benefit the farmers and the nation as well.

CECILIA B. PASCUAL

President, 2008-2009

Clarence M. Madayag won the 2009 PMCP-Bayer CropScience Best Undergraduate Thesis Award in Plant Pathology

For her thesis "Standardization of Conventional Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) – Based Detection of Rice Tungro Viruses", Clarence Molina Madayag is this year's PMCP-Bayer CropScience Best Undergraduate Thesis Awardee in Plant Pathology. Born on February 7, 1985 at Kapannickian, Allacapan, Cagayan, she is the second child

of Samson F. Madayag and Carmelita R. Madayag.

She finished her Elementary Education at Alicia North Central School (1985) as Class Salutatorian. She continued her Secondary Education at Alicia National High School (2002) and graduated as 4th honorable mention.

She decided to pursue her tertiary education at the Central Luzon State University and took up Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, major in Crop Protection-Plant Pathology. While pursuing her college degree, she was awarded with a scholarship grant from the Cybercity Telecommunications.

During her college days, she joined the Pest Management Society and was elected as Business Manager, 2004-2005.

Her study provides evidence for the superiority of the RT-PCR detection system for screening multiple viruses in terms of convenience, flexibility, speed of experiment, overall sensitivity, equivalence to phenotype, and ease of data interpretation over ELISA. Hence, this study strongly indicates that RT-PCR is a much more efficient and effective screening method than ELISA. The molecular tool is highly recommended for adoption in germplasm screening in genetic studies and breeding programs for tungro resistance.

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