Did you know that onion farmers can make their own organic concoction to fight fungal diseases like anthracnose, bulb rot and leaf spots? That’s what members of the Kalasag Farmer Producers Cooperative have been doing the past several years and that’s one of the reasons why they have cut down their cost of producing onion from P15 per kilo to P8 to P11 per kilo.
Kalasag is a co-op based in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija, managed by Wencelito Gomez whom we met at the launching of Chia Tai Philippines at the Marriott Hotel in Clark Pampanga on June 10, 2019. Kalasag has 92 farmer members who are producing onion and hot pepper for a big fast food chain.
The members are using Trichoderma to fight fungal diseases that attack onions from seedling to bigger growth stages. It is very easy and cheap to produce the Trichoderma solution for spraying on onion plants. This is how it is done.
For a small requirement, take a kilo of cracked corn that’s readily available in the market. Boil the corn until soft. Let cool for several minutes. When it is already cool, place the same in a durable transparent plastic bag (0.5mm). Inoculate this with Trichoderma which can be had for free from PhilRice in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. The Trichoderma comes something like a gel. Dip a barbecue stick and use this to inoculate the boiled corn in the plastic bag. Close the plastic bag with a rubber band and then sterilize the same by steaming. After it is steamed, place the bag in a cool dry place.
In one week or two, green fungal growth will coat the cracked corn. That’s the Trichoderma fungus. Take 10 grams of the inoculated cracked corn and immerse this in a dipper (tabo) of water to wash off the fungus from the cracked grains. The water in half of the dipper is placed in a 16-liter knapsack sprayer. With this, you can now spray the plants as well as the soil. That will keep the plants protected from fungal diseases. Wency said the solution can be sprayed on other plants besides onion.
Easy, isn’t? Yes, it is. And when we commented that the Department of Agriculture or some other agencies and NGOs should aggressively promote the use of Trichoderma. Taquio who used to be with a multinational company butted in: “The multinational companies won’t like that,” he said.
Wency said that Kalasag usually prepares their Trichoderma requirements by inoculating 50 kilos of cracked corn. That is enough for use of the members for two years.