The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) is launching a massive pest control program in key coconut producing areas in Calabarzon region to control the outbreak of scale insects.
Dubbed as Sama-samang Aksyon ng Gobyerno, Industriya at Pamayanan (Sagip), the P41.2-million program aims to eradicate scale insect infestation through massive and simultaneous spraying and fertilization of all the areas infested.
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 province.
As of June 17, 2013, the PCA chief said that about 931,139 coconut trees were 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 fertilizer.
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 solution before it start its massive program this first week of July.
The number of 30 PCA personnel presently involved in this campaign shall be supported by trained sprayer operators from the barangays infested and said operators shall be paid as part of PCA’s cash for work program.
In support to the campaign, 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 Barangay Balele, Tanauan all of Batangas.
To beef-up bio-control- PCA shall 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.
The PCA chief is positive that the program will show positive results, noting that more severe infestations in coconut trees happened before in the country but the industry survives.
“The problems that prevent total eradication are the lack of powerful sprayers for tall trees and the lack of manpower to repeat the spraying at least once every month for three months,” Forbes said.
But despite the prevalence of the infestation, Forbes assured that the scale insect infestation in the provinces of Batangas, Cavite and Quezon will not affect country’s coconut production, noting that only .05 percent of the total 340 million trees were affected.