Cecid flies threaten Ilocos mango farms anew

LAOAG CITY — It is nearly the season of mangoes again – the Philippines’ national fruit. But the association of mango growers and the provincial government are again concerned of cecid fly infestation here.

Cecid fly resembles a bigger mosquito that attacks mango trees at night. They leave circular black marks on the mango fruit when they lay their eggs. Its larva soon goes inside the fruit, eventually destroying it.

To prevent its spread, Governor Ma. Imelda Marcos has approved the allocation of some funds to contain this mango infestation that has been affecting the productivity of mango farmers in Ilocos region.

The funds, the amount of which had not been publicly announced yet, were for the purchase of pesticides and fertilizers, said Edwin Cariño of the Provincial Sustainable Development Center under the Ilocos Norte government on Thursday.

Last year, the infestation cost the growers PHP100,000 in damages to their produce. The damage cost, the growers said, could have been bigger if not for vigilant farmers, who burned the leaves to kill the destructive insects.

Cecid flies, which the farmers believe come from Pangasinan, attack the mango farms usually from December to March.

Ricardo Tolentino, president of the Ilocos Norte Mango Growers Federation, said the planters were thankful to the provincial government for responding immediately to their concern.

As of this posting, mango traders in Ilocos Norte are being monitored for the possible cropping up of “kurikong,” a damage caused by cecid flies in green mangoes.

In previous years, kurikong had affected some parts of the province’s second district, but it was contained by vigilant mango farmers.

Tolentino reiterated to fellow mango growers that in case they noticed an infestation, they were advised to gather and burn all the damaged mangoes.

“Please don’t bury them in soil because it’s where they came from,” stressed Tolentino, as he explained the spread of the disease was very easy, since it took only five days for a cecid fly larva to turn into an adult. PNA-northboundasia.com