PCA remains relentless in curbing cocolisap infestation in Isabela PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 09 November 2014 14:35

ISABELA CITY – The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) remains steadfast in its efforts to mobilize all possible resources to contain the spread of coconut scale insect  in the area.

As of September 26, 2014, data from the PCA noted that twenty-one barangays in Isabela City are already infested with the cocolisap at various stages from moderate to heavy infestation.  Close to a million coconut trees are planted within the 9,582.7 hectares of coconut areas in these barangays, where some 42.32% of coconut trees were infested or around 413,829 trees and 15,699 seedlings.

Efren Carba, Provincial Coconut Development Officer for Isabela and Zamboanga cities said the  first phase (60 days) of control measures is being completed, which is pruning and harvesting of harvestable nuts, followed by trunk injection.

Carba recalled that the infestation was first detected in Cabunbata Barangay of the city in 2012 and PCA immediately consulted their experts from Davao. They found out that the kind of cocolisap which infested the coconuts are not endemic in Basilan, and that it is foreign in origin. He explained that the local coconut environment was not ready to combat the pests and it does not have the natural predators to contain this type of cocolisap.

“From a mere residential concern, the infestation spread in adjacent barangays and coco lands,” he said.

He said PCA immediately conducted activities to contain the pests in Cabunbata yet they also discovered that it has already spread in other barangays.

PCA mobilized resources and requested funding support early this year from the central office and prepared a three-phase intervention to contain the cocolisap. The first phase is pruning and harvesting of harvestable nuts to be followed by trunk injection using the most benign green-label chemical known, enough to disable and kill the cocolisap.

There is no known report yet that the chemicals had significant effect on humans, nevertheless PCA strongly advised coconut farmers as a precaution not to harvest within a year or two for safety.

“We initially targeted two hundred thousand trees with initial reported infestation earlier to some 149,000 infested trees during the time we prepared the budget because it is spreading fast,” he said.

The second phase involves the spraying of organic substance like the Cochin and dishwashing detergent. After two weeks, the third phase follows which will be the introduction of biological control measures like the Coccinelid Beetles and parazetoids, which are the most sustainable way of addressing this problem.

Carba said that it will take a year for trees that are heavily infested to recover. But for senile trees. aged 60 years and above, PCA recommends cutting off these heavily infested trees, with issued permit from PCA, and replant later.

“We are just happy that most of the farmers and land owners are very cooperative. In fact, they are the ones who really visited our office from time to time, an indication that they really want to solve this predicament which affected their livelihood,” he noted.

Moreover, PCA continues to appeal to stakeholders to be relentless and sustain efforts to curb the cocolisap infestation.