The Philippine Rubber Research Institute (PRRI) recently welcomed a courtesy visit from the Food and Agriculture Association (FAO) represented by country head Mr. Dante Eleuterio and together with him are Dr. Shiroma Sathyapala (FAO-Foresty Officer), Dr. Sarojini Fernando of Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka, Dr. Jessa Ata (Plant Pathologist Consultant). During the visit, Mr. Eleuterio requested for a consultative meeting with the Pestalotiopsis team of PRRI to understand the current situation of the Philippine rubber industry with the ongoing threat of Pestalotiopsis disease. This support mission of FAO is in response to the request for assistance from the Department of Agriculture and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) through the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR). Moreover, part of FAO’s mission is to propose applicable immediate interventions based on the current status of rubber plantations in Basilan.
PRRI provided an overview of the situation, highlighting the economic impact of the disease on the Philippine rubber industry and the livelihood of rubber farmers. The PRRI team also discussed the measures taken to prevent the spread of the disease and the ongoing research to find effective solutions.
Mr. Eleuterio, on behalf of FAO, committed to helping PRRI in the current battle against Pestalotiopsis. The FAO’s assistance will directly benefit PRRI and it will now be PRRI’s responsibility to forward this help to the downstream sector, especially to the farmers.
The collaboration between FAO and PRRI is a significant step towards protecting the Philippine rubber industry from the threat of Pestalotiopsis. The help provided by FAO will further enhance the efforts of PRRI to prevent the spread of the disease and to support the affected farmers.
PRRI expressed their gratitude for the support of FAO and assured them of their commitment to continuously work towards protecting the Philippine rubber industry. The consultative meeting provided an opportunity for FAO and PRRI to strengthen their partnership and collaborate on future efforts.
The threat of Pestalotiopsis disease is a serious concern for the Philippine rubber industry, but with the support of FAO and the collective efforts of PRRI, the industry can overcome this challenge and thrive.
-Elline T. Macay