GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Agriculture personnel here have stepped up their monitoring on farms and grasslands in the city’s boundary areas due to the possible emergence of locust swarms coming from neighboring localities.
Merlinda Donasco, head of the City Agriculture Office (CAO), said Tuesday the presence of highly destructive locusts have already been monitored in the past several weeks in portions of Tboli town in South Cotabato and Maasim, Sarangani province.
She said chemical spraying activities are ongoing in the two areas to prevent the pests from multiplying further and infest local farms.
“Locusts can travel from 100 to 200 kilometers so we really have to watch out for them,” she said in a radio interview.
Donasco said they are currently conducting containment and control activities in at least two sites in the city that have confirmed presence of locusts that are still in the early or hopper stage.
She said these were found in a pineapple plantation at a portion of Barangay Bawing and in Sitio Aspang, Barangay San Jose.
A one-hectare corn farm in Sitio Aspang was attacked by locusts last week but the standing crops were saved due to the immediate response by their personnel, she said.
In September, CAO launched massive spraying activities in the grass areas of Purok Calatao, Barangay Tambler due to the presence of locust swarms but it has since been contained.
“We have standing corn crops right now in some of our barangays so we are doubling our efforts to protect them,” she said.
Aside from the city’s boundary areas, Donasco said they are closely monitoring grasslands near and within the city international airport in Barangay Fatima.
In the previous years, several scheduled commercial flights were delayed due to the invasion of locusts into the perimeter and grassy areas of the airport, especially near the runway.
Donasco added that they have tapped local farmers and other stakeholders to help monitor the presence of locusts in their areas and immediately alert them to facilitate proper response. (PNA)