Entomologists of IPB University Talk about Ecosystem Management as the Key to Pest and Disease Control in Cassava

Cassava is one of the favorite food ingredients for the people of Indonesia. Besides being known to be easy to process, the method of planting is considered not too difficult. The cassava plant is actually a native American plant imported by Portuguese and Spanish traders to Africa and Asia. Cassava is drought tolerant but not water tolerant. Cassava is also resistant to various conditions of acid and nutrient-poor soils but is less resistant to salinity.

Entomologists of the Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, IPB University, Bonjok Istiaji MSi, said that the shortage of land made it harder for cassava to compete with other commodities. Cassava farmers also often assume that cassava is a plant that is easy to grow and free from pests and diseases.

“In fact, healthy cassava plants are obtained because of appropriate treatment. Farmers should also have a perspective that cassava must also have high productivity like other leading commodities," he said in the Propaktani Webinar entitled "Beware of Cassava Diseases and Pests" held by the Directorate General of Food Crops, Ministry of Agriculture, RI, (18/5).

According to him, in general, cassava pests in Indonesia are not too severe. Pests and diseases are rare in this folk plant. However, it can be a severe threat to large-scale and intensive plantations. Cassava can experience symptoms of tubers, wilted leaves caused by fungi, to viruses.

“The passion for planting cassava must be accompanied by more serious agricultural technology so that it can be early anticipation of pest and disease attacks. Farmers must start implementing good ecological and engineering,” he explained. He explained that the health of cassava plants depends on the condition of the land where it is planted. Unhealthy soil can have a risk of soil-borne pests and diseases especially if farmers do not do seed selection. Coupled with globalization and a higher enthusiasm for planting cassava, the threat of new Plant Pest Organisms (OPT) will easily enter.

“If the environment and plants are healthy, this (pest and disease attack) will not happen. The key is in managing ecosystems with ecological engineering. Pest control is like a football playmaker. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your own team, know who the opponent is facing, and always concentrate on responding to situations quickly. Don't be a goalkeeper who only finds out the importance after conceding goals," said Bonjok. (*)(IAAS/UBI)

Published Date : 22-May-2022

Resource Person : Bonjok Istiaji MSi

Keyword : Plant Pest Organisms, cassava, integrated pest control, IPB entomologist