Pest and Disease Risk Identification and Management

Rice farmers lose an average of 37% of their rice crop to pests and diseases every year. Pesticides are used to control these threats but when misused, these can pose greater peril to human health and the environment.

Identifying and mapping the risk factors for pest outbreaks is useful in better targeting programs that can help reduce yield losses, minimize unnecessary spraying of pesticides, optimize pest control strategies and lessen environmental and health hazards.

Pest and Disease Risk Identification and Management (PRIME) is a four-year project among the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), that aims to understand risk factors for pest outbreaks and identify appropriate management strategies and tactics to reduce crop losses. The PRIME project is funded by the Department of Agriculture (DA) through the National Rice Program (DA-NRP) and the Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR).

In this project, a national pest surveillance system was developed and DA-Regional Field Offices together with local government units regularly monitor occurrence of all major pests in over 2,000 rice fields throughout the country. In addition, five pests which cause major crop losses in the country are further studied. These are the blast (leaf and neck blast), bacterial leaf blight (BLB), rice tungro disease/green leafhopper (GLH), brown planthopper (BPH), and rats.

Project highlights

PRIME identifies the risk factors of pest outbreaks, maps potential outbreak risks, and formulates integrated pest management (IPM) strategies using field-based pest surveillance, information derived from satellite images, and pest risk modeling. In addition, the capacity of project partners on remote sensing, and pest risk mapping and analysis are enhanced.


Pest surveillance protocol

  • PRIME developed a standard procedure to assess and report the incidence or severity of pest injuries and insect pest population .

  • Trained regional partners have been visiting farmers’ fields at monthly intervals to assess pest injuries and interviewing farmers to collect data on production situation using this standard protocol.

  • Data are collected using mobile devices installed with PRIME Collect, a dedicated software application with customized survey forms.

Early warning of pests and diseases

      • PRIME releases pre-semester bulletins and monthly bulletins on pest and disease risk and management strategies to DA Regional Field Offices throughout the country.

      • Beginning May 2021, an automated alert or early warning is also sent via email to key project staff, relevant DA offices and regional partners when elevated pest cases are reported

Pest Risk Modeling

  • Risk factors for the five studied pests have been identified

  • Landscape-scale pest risk factors such as rice ecosystem, crop establishment method, planting synchrony and cropping intensity have been mapped using remote sensing, GIS and/or machine learning

  • Pest risk models for brown plant hopper, and leaf and neck blast have been developed.


    • To efficiently implement all the activities and attain the goals and objectives of the PRIME project, a Projecta Management Team (MT) were formed to provide overall guidance, direction, and administration to the project. The MT was composed of project leaders from IRRI, PhilRice, BPI, and representatives from the DA.

    • Promotion of the project activities, training and workshops and how to engage other stakeholders through social media is handled by the Information and Communications Team (ICT) of the project with members from the different partner agencies.


PRIME staff trained partners on the standard protocol for pest surveillance, and pest risk analysis, mapping and mitigation.

Ways Forward


  • PRIME is envisioned to be institutionalized within the DA through BPI which has the mandate on pest surveillance and monitoring in the country.

  • IRRI and PhilRice are supporting BPI in the development of a sustainability plan for continued operation of PRIME.

  • PRIME will also contribute to other projects by providing information on pest occurrences in the regions which can be used in better targeting rice varieties with needed resistance/tolerance.

  • BPI is planning to use PRIME as a template for monitoring other major crops. Hence, the operationalization of PRIME will contribute to pest risk mitigation and reduced crop losses for rice and other major crops.

Online Resources

DA - IRRI2016 - 2021