Citrus is one of the fruit crops commercially grown in the province of Nueva Vizcaya, particularly concentrated in the highlands of Kasibu. Contributing to the province’s economic development, citrus production and marketing is considered to be one of the fastest growing industries in the region.

However, the province is facing gradually declining productivity of citrus trees. While hectarage of production continues to increase, not all orchards remain to be productive due to poor management particularly of insect pests and diseases. Citrus greening and citrus tristeza virus are major diseases aggravated by vector transmission and continuing production and use of infected planting materials.

citrus seedling

To address part of the problem, NVSU through its Citrus Resources Research and Development Center is implementing the project titled “Technology on Citrus Disease-Free Planting Materials Production in Nueva Vizcaya.” The project aimed to produce disease-free planting materials of various citrus species and cultivars that are commercially grown in Nueva Vizcaya. The strategy is considered to be one of the most viable solutions to managing incidence and spread of greening and virus diseases.

Through funding support from the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), under it National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP), NVSU was able to purchase the equipment for disease indexing and established the Foundation Block (FB), Budwood Increase Block, and Nursery in NVSU.

During the celebration of NVSU’s 10th Charter Anniversary, BAR Director Nicomedes P. Eleazar, together with Mr. Anthony B. Obligado, head of BAR-Technology Commercialization Division and Ms. Evelyn H. Juanillo, executive assistant at the BAR-Office of the Director, visited the PCR-based Disease Indexing Laboratory. The facility provides services to nurseries and citrus orchard and is capable of both serology and DNA-based disease detection.

“We have adapted programs designed to improve the farming conditions of our farmers and meet the needs of the citrus growers and if taken as a whole, this will add up to the inventory of healthy planting materials. At the onset, we can now accommodate the demand for quality and premium seeds, not only for citrus, but other high value fruits and vegetables,” Dr. Eleazar said.

“The establishment of a disease indexing laboratory at NVSU will be a great resource for the growing citrus industry in Nueva Vizcaya and through the established linkage of NVSU with citrus growers association in the province the value of disease indexing and the strategies use of disease-free citrus planting materials were advocated to clients,” Dr. Elbert Sana added.

To date, 200 citrus mother trees of various citrus cultivars are grown and maintained in the NVSU facility. A total of 5,873 budded seedlings have been produced and 1,475 sold to clients. The mother trees are indexed for tristeza virus (CTV) at least twice a year. The FB serves as sources of budwood for multiplication of planting materials. Among the cultivars include are: Mandarins (Gayunan, Satsuma, Poncan, Okitsu), Orange (Washington Navel, Navelate, Navelina, Hamlin, Trovita), Lemon (Meyer), and Pummelo (Magallanes, Siamese).

Citrus growers from the municipalities of Belance, Bayombong, Villaverde, Sta. Fe in Nueva Vizcaya and Tabuk, Kalinga established new citrus orchards utilizing NVSU seedlings that sum up to 14 hectares of farm land.

Mr. Jonathan P. Pugong, secretary of the Kasibu Citrus Growers Association, shared his gratitude to the project. “Napakalaking tulong ng proyekto sa aming mga citrus growers,” [The project is a big help to us citrus growers.] he said. He hopes that through the project, infected citrus trees will be replaced with disease-free seedlings, hence, expand production.

Other BAR-NVSU projects include:1) Enhancing Agricultural Productivity and Environmental Stability of Dryland Areas in the Provinces of (Nueva Vizcaya) through the Utilization of Pigeon Pea Package of Technology; 3) Validation and Documentation of Organic Production Systems for Lowland Rice and Eggplant-Garden Pea in Nueva Vizcaya; and 3) Upscaling Nueva Vizcaya State University Vermicomposting and Vermimeal Production Center (RV2/PC). ### (Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino)

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Contact person:
Mr. Anthony Obligado
Head, Technology Commercialization Division
Bureau of Agricultural Research
Department of Agriculture
Landline: (2) 928-8505 local 2311
Email: aobligado@bar.gov.ph

Source and image: bar.gov.ph