P41.2M set aside for Calabarzon pest control

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The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) will soon launch its most massive pest-control program in the Calabarzon areas.

Tabbed as “Sagip” Program (Sama-samang Aksyon ng Gobyer-no, Industriya at Pamayanan), it aims to control the outbreak of scale insects that has left the region’s coconut planters in distress.

Sagip was approved on May 20 by Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala with a budget of P41.2 million.

According to PCA administrator Euclides Forbes, the program will involve cutting of senile and infested trees which are beyond recovery, massive spraying of cochin plus pesticide and leaf pruning of young and moderately affected trees.

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“Pruned leaves and sprayed trees will also be fertilized and biocontrol agents will be mass produced and released to fight predators in low and moderately affected areas,” Forbes said in a statement.

The spraying shall be a joint operation by the PCA, local government unit and the barangays in the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, Cavite and Quezon. Each barangay infested shall be provided by PCA with inputs and sprayer for operations.

PCA shall also provide funds for hiring more than a thousand workers for spraying, pruning, replanting, fertilization and rearing of bio-control, Forbes said.

PCA Calabarzon noted that 50 percent to 70 percent of coconut farms in the province of Batangas, 20 percent in Laguna and 10 percent in Cavite were infested by scale insects early this year. Total recuperation will take two to three years.

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