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PIA Press Release

Brontispa threatens coconut industry in Samar

By Ninfa B Quirante

Catbalogan City (26 September) -- Unless, unabated, the onslaught of brontispa in Samar could affect the life support of Samarnons relying on the coconut.

In an emotional plea to coconut farmers and government agencies, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Provincial Coconut Development Manager (PCDM) Emiberto Acasio went on a live broadcast over Aksiyon Radyo DYMS.

Acasio was appealing to the coconut farmers to be vigilant and learn the signs of cocotrees infested by the dreaded brontispa.

This coconut hispine beetle (Brontispa longissima Gestro) has wreaked havoc in coconut plantations and even palm trees in the country.

Just on Monday, Acasio had phoned PIA to inform that farmers in Barangay Pagsaugan, Paranas, Samar reported that some 52 coco trees have been infested.

Further inspection and verification proved that brontispa has already invaded two adjacent barangays, Pagsaugan included.

Worse, Acasio added, that even the tall trees have been infested.

As a quick response, Acasio and his men employed trunk injection of ACTARA, a systemic insecticide that flows through the plant' veins to abort the spread of brontispa.

He added that the team also used the Green Muscardine Fungus, a cultured fungus believed to cause the death of brontispa and disable its larvae.

Coconut farmers are worried as another report, though unverified said that in Barangay Alabate, Catbalogan City, signs of the infestation have also been experienced.

Acasio pleaded to all government entities to support the formation of the Provincial Task Force that could be instrumental in saving the industry.

While his men are busy organizing the task force, Acasio also urges the Samarnon to immediately report any suspected infestation.

PCA experts said that young leaves appeared burned or scorched when attacked by brontispa.

If in doubt, the Brontispa Action Team recommends opening the folded leaflets and picking specimen of the pest with forceps or tapping the leaves onto a white cloth or paper. Preserve the specimen in vials with 80 percent alcohol and write down where the specimen was collected, host plant, date collected, and collector's name; then, send to the Brontispa Action Team or the nearest PCA. (PIA-Samar) [top]

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