LOS BAÑOS, Laguna—A new project funded by Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research Development is expected to address the problem of EDCOR Development Cooperative on Cassava Phytoplasma Disease or CPD.
Also known as Witch Broom’s Disease, CPD is a type of virus that stunts cassava plant growth and development. It becomes a serious threat to the local cassava industry if symptoms appear as early as two to three months, as all plants may die from it.
EDCOR, one of the big producers of cassava in San Guillermo, Isabela, supplies cassava to one of the leading corporations in the country through the plantations of its 237 members, Ofelia F. Domingo of the PCAARRD Media Services said in a conference here.
However, Domingo said that the municipal agriculture office reported that in 2018, total cassava sales dropped from â‚±2.1 million in 2017 to only around â‚±768,000. Production area likewise dropped from 1,170 hectares in 2017 to only 513 hectares in 2018.
EDCOR General Manager Daniel Medina and Chairman of the Board Honorio Sanchez attribute the poor performance of cassava production to disease infection.
However, EDCOR needs the ability and the mechanism to recognize and monitor the disease in their plantation and the information on disease management protocols.
The project will design, develop, establish, and implement an embedded system for smart detection, recognition, and mapping of CPD using Aerial Unmanned Vehicle and deep learning technology.
The latter is applied to image processing and recognition. This project will be implemented for two years by the Isabela State University in partnership with EDCOR Development Cooperative.
According to project leader Dr. Irma T. Plata of ISU, the project will tap two platforms to monitor CPD-infected plantations: the CPD web-based monitoring system and the CPD-mobile based monitoring app.
These platforms will provide and disseminate data, information, monitoring results, and reports related to cassava infected areas to EDCOR cassava farmers, community, and stakeholders.
PCAARRD, through its Agricultural Resources Management Research Division, will monitor and evaluate the project.