The Department of Agriculture–Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) MIMAROPA Regional Project Coordination Office (RPCO) together with the Mindoro State University (MinSU) launch the CalamanSeek Mobile Application, October 17, 2022. This android app which helps farmers identify and treat calamansi pests and diseases.

Laying the Foundations of the Project Study
Once hailed as the “Calamansi King of the Philippines”, Oriental Mindoro used to produce more than a hundred metric tons of calamansi annually.
However, the province faced a decline in production in the past few years.

According to Mindoro State University Director for Research and Development Macario Masagca Jr., one of the main reasons of decline was the conversion of calamansi farms into other fruit trees.

Seeking to reclaim its prestigious title as Calamansi King, the project “Study on Pest and Diseases of Calamansi: Paving Ways for the Sustainability of Calamansi Industry in Oriental Mindoro” was formed, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture – Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP).

The overall objective of the project study is aimed at institutionalizing a means to produce disease-free calamansi fruits through profiling pests and diseases found in calamansi, the development of a mobile application to store the results of the profiling, and the establishment of a grove and net house to facilitate further experimental studies.

Seeking Assistance through Calamanseek
The project study entitled “Study on Pest and Diseases of Calamansi: Paving Ways for the Sustainability of Calamansi Industry in Oriental Mindoro” aims to institutionalize a means to produce disease-free calamansi fruits. This is done by profiling pests and diseases of calamansi, developing a mobile application to store the results of the profiling, and establishing a grove and net house to facilitate further experimental studies.

For the mobile application called CalamanSeek, calamansi farmers will be able to enjoy both online and offline features. The offline features of the application will serve as a readily available reference for farmers when it comes to identifying and treating calamansi pests and diseases. These references in the app are available in both English and Filipino language.

Currently, the application has three main sections: Disease, Insect, and Inquire.

Disease – This is an offline application function that presents seven identified diseases of calamansi trees in the province of Oriental Mindoro. In this section, the common names (may be more than one for each disease) are outlined, together with the distribution of the disease in the province. This also includes a comprehensive list of signs and symptoms for each disease, along with tips for its management.

Insects – Like the Disease function of the application, Insects can also be accessed even without an internet connection. This section identifies seven insect pests and five beneficial insects. Photos, diagnostic characteristics, nature of the damage, and management of the said insects are also included in this function.

Inquire – Inquire is the only online function of the application. This allows farmer users to send their questions and consult their concerns with experts and professors from Mindoro State University.

Foundation Grove and Net House for Calamansi
With the help of Mindoro State University, the project study allotted 1.55 hectares of land in Brgy. Alcate in the Municipality of Victoria for a foundation grove and nethouse. The foundation grove will serve as a laboratory and pest clinic. Once the foundation grove successfully shelters 625 calamansi trees, further experiments on calamansi pests and diseases will be conducted. The nethouse, on the other hand, will serve as a nursery to house pest-free calamansi planting materials.

DA-PRDP Funding
The Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP) is a project designed to establish the government platform for a modern, climate-smart and market-oriented agri-fishery sector. DA-PRDP partners with the LGUs and the private sector in providing key infrastructure, facilities, technology, and information that raises income, productivity, and competitiveness in the countryside (DA-PRDP Briefer, 2016).

Under this project is the Planning Component, that focuses on enhancing the Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization Plan through science-based tools. Part of its mandate is to fund studies which help modernize agricultural process involving the most relevant commodities in each province.

In the province of Oriental Mindoro, calamansi was identified as the primary commodity as it produces approximately 101,601 metric tons of the fruit annually, comprising 99% of the total regional volume (Bureau of Agricultural Statistics, 2012).

On top of the project study behind the CalamanSeek mobile application, DA-PRDP also supports two existing calamansi subprojects in the province. These are the “Oriental Mindoro Calamansi Trading Center” in the Municipality of Naujan, and the “Oriental Mindoro Calamansi Processing and Marketing” in the Municipality of Pola. These two enterprises have a total subproject cost of PhP 24.4 million combined.

Next Steps
The project study is nearing its end with a completion rate of 97% as of October 2022. With the final arrangements for the foundation grove and net house currently taking place, this project study is expected to reach a hundred percent completion rate before the year ends.

When asked about his message to funding initiatives like DA-PRDP, Masagca expressed his wish for more support for dying industries.

“I hope that struggling industries like the calamansi industry, industries that are beginning to lose hope, will be prioritized. In the time of climate change and natural disasters, calamansi and calamansi products struggle to compete with other commodities in terms of prioritization. So, we hope that initiatives like this will be funded continuously so we can revive the industry,” said Masagca. (Danica A. Brutas, DA-PRDP MIMAROPA RPCO InfoACE Unit)

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