BY JENNIFER C. TILOS
DUMAGUETE CIT (PIA) –The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in Negros Oriental will intensify awareness campaign against coconut scale insect (CSI) infestation which may endanger the coco industry of the province.
PCA provincial director Brendan Trasmonte in a PDRRMC meeting recently said, the coconut is the province’s number one agricultural product which has 92,782 hectares with nine million coco trees planted.
This new threat to the coco farmers prepares PCA workers to make rounds and conduct surveillance of CSI’s symptoms in the coconut farms.
Similarly, to make sure that coconut scale insects or “cocolisap” do not stage a “surprise attack” on Negros Oriental’s coconuts. The team will also closely coordinate with the farmers and local government units to monitor and prevent the infestation.
Trasmonte said of the 9M coco trees planted in the province, bearing stage reached to 7.2 million while the rest of 1.2 million are non-bearing.
The PCA will also collaborate with Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine Ports Authority to closely monitor the entry of any coco plants at the sea ports.
“Cocolisap” are leaf- sucking insects with a scale-like waxy protective covering. It was found out recently that the insect is a specie of Aspidiotus which is different from the native Aspidiotus destructor that attack coconut trees.
According to local coconut authority the first pest outbreak was reported in the four provinces of Luzon and Basilan that wreaked havoc on plantations.
On infested coconut plants, these insects reside underneath the leaves of young palms while in affected bearing palms, they are found not only at the underside of the leaves but also on the surface of the fruits and petioles, said Trasmonte.
These insect pests cause yellowing or chlorosis, wilting, premature nutfall and low yield because they continuously siphon off the plant sap with their specialized mouth parts.
Thick sooty molds grow on the honeydew excreted by these insects, preventing photosynthesis.
In the process, coconut trees die because CSIs block leaf pores, preventing leaves from producing nutrients for the tree.
Trasmonte said the “cocolisap” are more dangerous and destructive than the coconut pest Brontispa longissima.
Nevertheless, massive replanting of coconut seedlings were done in 2012 as Brontispa affected 44,000 coco trees in Negros Oriental, said PCA official. (mbcn/JCT/PIA7-Negros Oriental article first published on July 1, 2014)