Cocolisap infestation hits Basilan, Zambo

THE COCOLISAP, a pest that prevents coconut trees from bearing fruit, has badly hit two areas in Mindanao, totaling to 664,000 coconut trees, an official of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) bared.

Roque Quimpan, member of the board of PCA, said yesterday in the weekly Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City Davao-Annex that it severely affected Basilan and Zamboanga City.

The PCA is currently addressing the spread of infestation by starting to cut 500,000 coconut trees in Basilan. The affected trees in Zamboanga City, which totaled to 144,000, will be cut down within this year.

“It will be implemented soon in Zamboanga City once the PCA Board approves the budget for the cutting including the need to rehabilitate the farms. The proposed budget for Zamboanga is P106 million,” Quimpan said.

The move also includes putting in place biological control agents that could help mitigate the spread of the pest.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said earlier that the problem on cocolisap has to be immediately addressed to save the coconut industry especially in areas where it is the main crop, like Basilan.

Once rehabilitated, Quimpan said they would provide incentives and livelihood assistance to the affected farmers as it would take about three to five years for the coconut tree to flower and bear fruit.

“It is a sad note that we become reactive while it (cocolisap) grows by the day and damage the coconut trees severely. It can really kill the industry in months’ time if this would not be properly addressed,” Quimpan said.

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