Friday, March 31, 2017

More than 100 thousand coconut trees infested

The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) disclosed that more than 100,000 coconut trees are infested by the “cocolisap” in Zamboanga.

At least 100,000 coconut trees here had been infested with “cocolisap” as farmers struggle to secure chemicals to fight it, according to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

Farmers depended on the rains to retard the onslaught of the pests but summer is already here and the  problem is expected to worsen as evidenced by the leaves of coconut trees turning to yellow and then brown.

The PCA in the locality is acting on the problem but infestation has already affected 112,117 coconut trees. This represents 51 villages out of 98 that are already affected.

A state of calamity needs to be declared said Joselino Mirabuena, a PCA agriculturist. They are now limited to disseminating information and recommending that pruning be done by the coconut farmers.

Systematic application of pesticides are the only known solution to combat the infestation. The downside is the cost.  A sachet of the pesticide, which can be used on five coconut trees, costs P280. For the 112,117 infected trees, at least P6.3 million worth of pesticide is needed. Currently, the PCA has no funds set for the acquisition of pesticides.

Another solution is offered by City Agriculturist Diosdado Palacat “We have made a local concoction, from vegetable oil and liquid detergent,” he said. “All you need is power spraying, long sturdy bamboo tubes and farmers who can climb coconut trees,” Palacat added.

The Philippines has been experiencing the “cocolisap” infestation since the year 2014 and has spread to other areas of the country.

The Philippines is the leading copra producer in the world and has already overtaken Indonesia in that category.

This compounds the problem of the coconut industry since the average age of the coconuts have exceeded 20 years old. The planned replacement planting has fallen short of target and a long term crisis is being forecasted if these problems go unchecked.

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The Mail Man

Author & Editor - The Philippines' Web Magazine on Agriculture.

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