The government has set the month of October as the deadline to contain the coconut scale insects or “cocolisap” infestation on coconut trees.
Secretary Francis Pangilinan, presidential assistant for food security and agricultural modernization, set the deadline after he led on Friday an aerial inspection of the infested coconuts trees and met with the concerned stakeholders.
Pangilinan said the cocolisap infestation could be contained through the integrated pest management protocol like what they did in the provinces of Batangas, Cavite, Laguna, and Quezon.
Basilan was among the five areas in the country were coconut trees were infested by cocolisap. It was first reported in 2010 in Batangas.
The cocolisap infestation in this province started in 2012.
Pangilinan has ordered the deployment of the needed equipment such as electric drillers and generator sets in preparation for the implementation of the pest management protocol.
Romulo Arancon Jr., administrator of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), said they would assign additional personnel to assist coconut farmers in combating cocolisap in this province.
The integrated pest management protocol include 30-day massive leaf pruning; 60-day application of systemic insecticides through trunk injection; establishment of quarantine checkpoints; and, production and release of bio-control agents.
Pangilinan’s office has an allocation of P750 million to address the problem of cocolisap infestation in the country.
Pangilinan is optimistic they “will be able to defeat these pests and bring down to manageable level” with an area-wide integrated pest management by mobilizing down to the grassroots.
PCA data showed that this province has 69,695 hectares of coconuts owned and cultivated by 23,455 coconut farmers with around 8,097,114 coconut trees spread out in 255 barangays in two cities and 11 towns.
The PCA data showed that 10 percent representing 814,712 coconut trees are infested as of this month this year affecting the livelihood of 6.5 percent representing 1,518 farmers in this province.
“The long dry spell in Basilan since September last year significantly contributed to the increase in number of coconut scale insect-infested trees in the province,” he PCA data stated.