By Saul E. Pa-a
PAGBILAO, Quezon (PNA) — The Philippine Coconut Authority-Quezon and Provincial Agriculture Office formally opened Friday the operation of the biological control laboratory in Barangay Talipan, Pagbilao to solve the problem of the coconut scale insects or commonly known as “cocolisap” infestation in the province.
Provincial coconut authority and agriculture officials said the bio-control laboratory serves as the breeding and mass production site of the predator insects in the beetle family Coccinellidae.
Beetles hatched in the laboratory serve as the harmless, non-chemical and environment-friendly anti-pest control agents that will feed on the cocolisap.
Agri and coco officials develop the biological control measures after scientific research and experimentation proved the ladybird or lady beetles are considered beneficial agents because they are predators or eat the insect pests.
PCA and agriculture officials here have intensified control measures to eradicate the coconut scale insect infestation in the Calabarzon region’s coconut producing provinces particularly Quezon which is the country’s largest coconut growing province.
PCA, DA, coconut industry stakeholders and LGU officials have forged multi-sectorial approach through the “Sama-samang Aksyon ng Gobyerno, Industriya at Pamayanan” or SAGIP multi-agency convergence programs to control and eradicate the outbreak of the “cocolisap.”
The Pagbilao bio-control laboratory is now one of the effective pest eradication and control operations besides the cutting of senile and infested trees which are beyond recovery and are too tall rendering the spraying method ineffective.
Other measures that have been adopted to control the coco-scale insect pests and their damage are the massive spraying of cochin plus pesticide; leaf pruning of young and moderately affected trees; fertilization of leaf pruned and sprayed trees.
Now, the mass production and release of bio-control agents or the friendly beetle insects as “biological warriors” or predators will feed on the “cocolisap” thus control the infestation in several coconut-planted farms and plantations in Quezon.
It was learned that the “cocolisap” pests also destroy fruit-bearing trees such as lanzones, mangosteen and other fruits not only in Quezon but also in Laguna, Batangas, Cavite and Rizal.
Quezon Governor David “Jayjay” Suarez extended his huge support for the bio-control lab through the Provincial Agriculture Office and his “Serbisyong Suarez sa Agrikultura” programs in a bid to eradicate the coco pest.
Provincial Agriculture Office chief Robert Gajo also said his office sustains the conduct of trainers’ program on the eradication of the coco scale insects by providing information on the coconut pest, infestation control and pest eradication.
Besides the SAGIP, the Coco Scale Insect Comprehensive Action Program and the coco-based farmers field school under the auspices of the Philippine Coconut Authority have been intensified for coco farmers education.The training programs will also provide information on the coconut development projects, formation of agri and coco teams and sustain convergence by concerned government agencies to come up with more intervention programs for the coconut industry and the agriculture sector.
Mobile PCA and DA teams have been conducting spot operations for filtering and monitoring information and joint undertakings with the local government units and the barangays on the coconut scale insect infestation.
Infested barangays are given farm inputs and sprayer for operations and mobilize coco farmers for the control operations now with the mass production and breeding of bio-control beetle agents or friendly insect predators in addition to other measures in other areas as spraying, pruning, replanting and fertilization to sustain productivity.