• Govt moves to fight scale insect infestation in Calabarzon

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    The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) will launch its massive program in key coconut producing areas in the Calabarzon region to control the outbreak of scale insects.

    The Sama-samang Aksyon ng Gobyerno, Industriya at Pamayanan (Sagip) is a P41.2-million program to fight scale insect infestation through massive and simultaneous spraying.

    PCA Administrator Euclides Forbes said they would officially launch the Sagip program on the first week of July, complimenting the ongoing massive spraying project in Malvar and Lemery in Batangas.

    As of June 17, about 931,139 coconut trees have been infested, of which 903,977 or 97.08 percent, are pruned; 257,996 are sprayed; and 257,943 are fertilized by the agency with the assistance of LGUs.

    Trees are pruned first before they are sprayed with water containing cochin oil and dishwashing solution and/or fertilized.

    Forbes said that the PCA is acquiring more sprayers from the present 28 to almost 200 and is beefing its stock of cochin oil and dishwashing solutions before it start its massive program this first week of July.

    The 30 PCA personnel involved in the campaign will be backed up by trained sprayer operators from the infested barangays.

    In support to the campaign, the municipality of Lemery, Batangas, provided another 15 sprayers for each of its barangay, while the Department of Agriculture Region IV-A has also provided 10 units of knapsack sprayers.

    In addition, 45,000 of coconut dwarf seednuts were already delivered to Barangay Bilucao, Malvar and Balele, Tanauan, all in Batangas.

    To beef-up bio-control, PCA will establish more mass production laboratories in addition to the two labs, one in Regional Crop Protection Center and one in the Bureau of Plant Industry compound.

    The PCA also plans to establish private rearing centers of predators to achieve the target of rearing at least 5,000 friendly insects a month.

    “The PCA’s budget for this enhanced programs is P41.2 million, with PCARRD-DOST also providing P4.64 million for research and mapping of infestation to forecast where it would spread,” Forbes said.

    Forbes assured that the scale insect infestation in Batangas, Cavite and Quezon will not affect country’s coconut production, noting that only .05 percent of the total 340 million trees were affected.

    JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ

     

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