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PIA Press Release

Brontispa infests 52 cocotrees in Paranas, Samar

By Ninfa B Quirante

Catbalogan City (25 September) -- The dreaded Brontispa, an insect devouring leaves of the coconuts has infested some 52 coconut trees in Barangay Pagsau-gan Paranas, Samar.

This was disclosed by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Provincial Coconut Development Manager (PCDM) Emiberto Acasio in a telephone call to PIA, Samar today.

While the brontispa infestation in Barangay Pagsau-gan is not meant to create panic among coconut farmers; the information, says PCA Samar Chief is to create awareness and in the process report similar infestation to the rightful agency.

In July, with the infestation spreading in Allen, Northern Samar and even Eastern Samar, Acasio had made the rounds of radio stations announcing the symptoms of coconut leaves possibly infested by brontispa.

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

The beetle feeds on young leaves, which then appear burned or scorched. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the pest may cause the death of young palms and those situated in poor growing conditions.

The beetle causes great damage to seedlings and mature coconut palms, kills the young spears and eventually the whole palm. Ornamental palms suffer the same fate.

PCA is overly concerned with this situation as production would be affected with the brontispa infestation.

In Samar, the coconut industry is the most viable means of livelihood and that the brontispa incident could greatly affect the tried and tested livelihood in Samar, said Acasio.

Based on the information sent by the Brontispa Action Team to the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), the pest was presumably introduced to the Philippines in early 2004 through the importation of ornamental palms.

With the information, Acasio urges all coconut farmers to report any suspected incident to PCA. He also requested the LGUs to assist them in monitoring so that proper actions could be done. (PIA-Samar) [top]

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