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The Philippine Rubber Research Institute (PRRI) has conducted massive surveillance and monitoring to trace and monitor potential infections of Pestalotiopsis in rubber areas in Zamboanga Del Sur, Zamboanga Del Norte, and Zamboanga Sibugay. The move comes amid growing concerns about the spread of Rubber Pestalotiopsis Leaf Fall Disease (PLFD) in the region, which poses a significant threat to the rubber industry.
Along with the surveillance, PRRI has also conducted an initial severity assessment of the areas to determine the intensity of infection. The assessment was carried out from April 17-21, April 26-28, and May 02-05, 2023 with a particular focus on the vicinities near the first report of Pestalotiopsis in the municipality of Titay.
Following the assessment, the bureau provided an update on the confirmed cases of PLFD in the affected municipalities. Rubber farmers in the region have expressed concern about the disease as it causes severe leaf fall, leading to defoliation, reduced yield, and eventually death of the rubber trees.
PRRI is working closely with the provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga del Norte to ensure that all rubber farmers in the region are aware of the disease and its potential impact on their plantations.
Meanwhile, PRRI is also conducting trials to develop a treatment and management plan for PLFD. As of writing, there is still no known cure for Pestalotiopsis in the world. Though no definite control measures were proven effective yet, the bureau recommends that farmers employ Good Agricultural Management practices to include proper sanitation and weed management in their rubber plantations. Chemical control is recommended following the protocols from other countries.
Rubber farmers are being urged to be vigilant and to report any signs of PLFD in their rubber plantations to their municipal agriculture offices immediately. PRRI is committed to monitoring the situation closely and taking all necessary steps to prevent the spread of the disease and protect the rubber industry in the region.

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