The coconut industry in Negros Oriental is threatened with infestation by a destructive kind of insect, that the Philippine Coconut Authority calls “brontispa”.
PCA provincial manager, Brendan Trasmonte, said 19,302 coconut trees planted in 1,930 hectares of land in four areas in the 3rd District, have been infested.
The infestation started September last year in Bayawan City, and affected 18,548 coconut trees. It is also threatening Basay and Siaton, in spite of measures undertaken against it, such as the use of chemicals, Trasmonte said.
He added that a long-term solution undertaken was the use of a biological control through cultured parazitoids. More than 15,000 brontispa-infected coconut trees have been treated, he said.
Aside from the 3rd District, the 1st District has not been spared, Transmonte said, as insects recently attacked more than 200 coconut trees in barangays Basak, Bulado and Hilaitan, all in Guihulngan City.
The recent earthquake also uprooted and destroyed more than 955 coconut trees, that were either buried by soil, rocks or boulders in the two big landslides in Guihulngan, La Libertad and in Jimalalud.
Tropical storm “Sendong” also damaged 3,432 coconut trees, Trasmonte reported.
But said he is optimistic that the industry will recover, with l nine million coconut trees still growing in the province, in more than 92,000 hectares of land.*JG
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