By Ma. Cristina C. Arayata
MANILA, Jan. 3 (PNA) — Coconut trees have so many uses, and the Philippines is blessed to have many of these.
But farmers and tree growers have to deal with "cocolisap" — a sap-sucking insect that causes deterioration in coconut trees.
"Cocolisap" is a coconut scale insect that dries and dehydrates coconut trees due to loss of sap. This kind of insect could also invade young nuts.
According to the Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), "cocolisap" first infested two barangays in Tanauan, Batangas in 2011, and spread to 2.6 million infested trees in CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon).
As "cocolisap" posed a huge threat to the industry, the Coconut Scale Insect Emergency Action Program (CSIEAP) was established.
CSIEAP includes treatment operations, quarantine establishment and mobilization of an integrated pest management (IPM) protocol.
The CSIEAP-IPM protocol is a science-based treatment that aims to combat the spread of "cocolisap."
DOST-PCAARRD shares the following operations included in the protocol:
1. Pruning of infested leaves and chopping
PCAARD shared that thousands of CSI-infested trees were pruned in CALABARZON and Basilan last year.
2. Trunk injection of systemic insecticide, Dinotefuran
3. Spot spraying of organic pesticides
Thousands of CSI-infested trees in Laguna, Cavite, Batangas and Quezon were sprayed with organic pesticides.
4. Production and release of biocontrol agents
From 2013-2015, there were more than 956,000 biological control agents, including predators and parasitoids, that were produced and released to different areas in CALABARZON.
According to PCARRD, there were 158,000 CSI-infested trees that were fertilized in Batangas in 2014. The program targeted to fertilize more than a million CSI-infested trees in CALABARZON in 2015.
6. Establishment of quarantine checkpoints
As of last year, PCAARD said 23 quarantine checkpoints have been established in CALABARZON and Basilan. (PNA)