1.8 million coconut trees in ZamPen affected by Cocolisap - PCA Print
Thursday, 28 September 2017 15:53

By RG ANTONET GO

The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) has announced that there are 1.8 million coconut trees in Zamboanga Peninsula affected by Coconut Scale Insect (CSI) or locally known as “Cocolisap”.

Efren P. Carba, PCA Zamboanga provincial head, disclosed in an interview that for Zamboanga City there are 736,356 infected coconut trees, Isabela City 987,762, Zamboanga Sibugay 46,270, Zamboanga del Norte 23,793, and Zamboanga del Sur 27,705.

Carba said that the cocolisap infestation is now considered in critical level and the local government units shall also adopt necessary measures to aggressively combat the spread of cocolisap infestation to other farming areas. However, he added that these measures should be in close coordination with the PCA.

In fact, PCA data shows that in Zamboanga City alone, 736,356 coconut trees are infested with CSI where 235,735 coconut trees are infested in District I and 500,621 coconut trees infested in District II.

Zamboanga City has 841,115 coconut trees for District I while 2,279,184 coconut trees for District II.

He explained that without proper treatment, Zamboanga City alone can lose 80 percent of its total coconut production which is equivalent to 27,557 metric tons.

If the cocolisap infestation could not be effectively addressed the coconut industry in Zamboanga City is expected to lose some P1.1 billion annually.

Meanwhile, the City Council on Tuesday adopted a resolution asking Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar to consider the declaration of a State of Emergency regarding the unabated Cocolisap infestation in Zamboanga City.

The local august body and the PCA officials held a dialogue during the session where the council members were given a comprehensive presentation on the gravity of the cocolisap infestation in the city.

Once the city’s chief executive declared a state of emergency in so far as the cocolisap infestation in the city is concerned, the PCA can already expedite the procurement of needed equipment and materials that will be used to combat cocolisap in all affected barangays in the city. Besides, the city government itself will already also be able to utilize emergency funds of the mayor to help the PCA and the barangays combat the cocolisap infestation in a barangay-to barangay level.

Carba stressed that  should there be a declaration of State of Emergency by the mayor it will surely be a welcome development to all stakeholders.

“For our part it will help us fast track the procurement process as we can do away with the proper bidding since it can already be done through negotiated contract if the city declares a state of emergency under CSI,” Carba pointed out..

He also admitted that procurement is one of their problems as it takes time to procure the medicines, generators, sprayers, electric drill, among others.

Meanwhile, Joseph Lazareno, president of the Coconut Farmers Federation of Zamboanga City, is asking the city government to move fast, give coconut farmers more support, and fertilizers to boost coconut production.

“Si chene pa ayuda era omenta pa para pwede man contain conel CSI na Zamboanga. Dale kanamun fertilizer para pronto el production y necicita mas pronto mobe,” Lazareno said.

It can be recalled that  cocolisap arrived in Zamboanga City on May 12, 2016  and it was first reported in Latuan, east of the city infecting seven trees and also in Dulian, Upper Bungiao where 13 trees were infected.

Cocolisap is an invasive leaf-sucking insect with a scale-like waxy protective covering. It feeds on coconut, mangosteen, banana, and other palms which can be dispersed by wind.

The PCA office is conducting pruning, spraying, and trunk injection to treat these coconut trees infected with CSI infestation but unfortunately the spread of the infestation could not yet be effectively addressed.

However, further scientific study is currently being conducted by the PCA.  (R.G. A A. Go)