Peste sa palay! Joey Salceda asks DA for help as virus sweeps through Albay district

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By Billy Begas

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda has asked the Department of Agriculture (DA) to help the farmers control the infestation of rice tungro virus in at least three towns in the third district of his province.

Salceda said tungro has already infested some 375 hectares of rice field in his hometown Polangui, 221 in Libon, and 186.5 in Oas.

“They are the rice granaries of Albay. I seek immediate assistance for the affected farmers and for measures to preempt its contagion. Should funds are required, I will help secure the funding,” said Salceda in a text message to Agriculture Sec. William Dar.

Dar said he will immediately act on the matter.

Tungro is a disease usually carried by the green leafhopper. The leaves of infected rice plants usually turn to yellow orange in color.

The DA has initially provided farmers in Libon town some 20 liters of insecticide to be sprayed in the affected areas, which could cover 80 hectares.

Salceda said farmers have raised concerns that the infestation could spread further. Most of the plantations were not insured.