DA-led technical working group formed to combat cocolisap
Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol has blamed “very slow government reaction and action” on the spread of the coconut scale insect or cocolisap and has created a technical working group with the Philippine Coconut Authority to address the problem.
In a post on his Facebook page, Piñol said he met with representatives from the Department of Agriculture and the PCA yesterday and learned that the cocolisap was seen in Basilan as early 2007 but government did not act on it.
He said the disease is believed to have been brought in by “unwitting carriers” from Indonesia where it is believed to have originated. He said the PCA raised alarm bells as early as 2010, seeking funds to address the problem that has affected some 200,000 hectares by then. The interventions only became available in 2014 and, by then, it has already spread to 600,000 hectares in Basilan.
Piñol said the damage from cocolisap in Bicol and Calabarzon has amounted to P12 billion and the disease is now threatening coconut farms in Mindanao.
Piñol said the technical working group has laid down the steps in dealing with cocolisap.
• If the coconut trees can no longer be saved, they must be cut down and turned into coco lumber, furniture and charcoal briquettes so that it will not be total loss to farmers
• Trees that can still be saved will undergo either the biological pest control or the chemical trunk injection or root absorption.
• Replanting must be started in affected areas and where the trees are no longer productive and farmers will be provided alternative activities such as corn, rice and vegetable farming for additional sources of income
• In areas which are threatened, preventive measures must be undertaken, including the education of the community so that proper monitoring would be made.