February 29, 2024

A study conducted by the Bureau of Plant Industry showed that Trichoderma koningii can be an effective biological control agent against soil-borne diseases affecting potatoes and cabbages.
Based on the study, the Trichoderma koningii, either grown in a rice hull substrate or chicken manure enhanced with Trichoderma, which was applied on a plot before it was planted with potatoes reduced nematode population ranging from four to 68 percent while the untreated plots had an increase of nematode population of 11 to 181 percent.
The reduction of nematode population resulted in eight to 20 percent yield increase of potato, thus increasing the net income of farmers with a Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) of 152 to 245 percent.
ROCE is a financial ratio used to determine profitability and efficiency of capital used.
A higher ROCE implies more economical use of capital.
On the other hand, the application of Trichoderma before planting cabbages in the clubroot-infected areas resulted in 24 to 40 percent disease control of clubroot on the plants.
The application of Trichoderma resulted in an average yield increase of 48 to 52 percent with a ROCE of 143 to 194 percent.
Clubroot and potato cyst are the major problems faced by vegetable growers in the Cordillera.
Clubroot disease is caused by a fungus affecting crucifers, experienced mostly by farmers in Benguet and Mountain Province.
The disease causes stunting and clubbing of the roots resulting in small cabbage heads or death of the plant.
Potato cyst nematode is a threat to the potato industry in the region.
Potato plants infested with potato cyst nematode usually show symptoms of early senescence or yellowing of leaves and stunting of plants resulting in a decrease in yield.
Several farmers are not familiar with the pest but they observed the yellowing of their potato plants in its early stage.
Trichoderma koningii is widely used worldwide because of its proven ability to control several plant diseases.
The study was funded by the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agrarian Reform, which ran from 2015 to 2018.
BPI has also been mass producing Trichoderma koningii which is being promoted as biological control agent for the management of soil-borne diseases and as compost activator. BPI is also conducting trainings to farmer groups to further promote the technology. – Rhonda Oloan