A solution to beat cocopests
In Bay, Laguna, 30 badly infected coconut trees were restored to health and productivity by biotechnologist Edgar A. Maranan. On June 3, 2014, he narrated how this successful treatment was achieved, not so much by killing the cocopests as by strengthening the coconut tree and its immune system. And this was done at a very reasonable rehabilitation cost.
Addressing a group discussing the future of virgin coconut oil at the conference room of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Maranan recounted how he was given by the PCA a test area in Bay, Laguna, that had 30 unproductive coconut trees that were so badly-infected these were ready to be chainsawed into cocolumber. After applying his solution, 24 trees began to flower within weeks and up to 29 trees actually began to produce nuts again. The nuts were excitedly harvested by local farmers—and a second flowering of the trees shows that all the 30 trees were saved by Maranan’s solution, which he estimates cost him P202.85 per tree in direct costs. With packaging, licensing and application costs included, it should suffice for a commercial service to apply Maranan’s solution for no more than P500/tree.
That such a solution has become available upon the arrival of Secretary Francis Pangilinan as presidential assistant for food security and agricultural modernization is a propitious sign. It is hoped that the PCA can quickly bring Maranan’s solution to the distressed areas. Already, two local government units in Laguna (Bay and San Pablo) are clamoring for its rapid deployment. Perhaps Secretary Pangilinan can
accelerate this process by coordinating with the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, which is also under his supervision, as well as with the Bureau of Food and Drugs of the Department of Health.
The private sector is already moving to use Maranan’s solution. Jun Castillo of the Philippine Coconut Society (PCS) is urging PCS members in Calabarzon to try the Maranan solution as soon as possible. Since there are no chemical substances in Maranan’s solution, it does not bring the same health and environmental dangers inherent in a pesticide-based solution.
We know of three other solutions that have been shown to be effective against the cocopests. All follow the same principle: Making the tree strong is the key. That’s how to beat the cocopests.
—JOSE Z. OSIAS,
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