5,000 coconut trees attacked by pests in Palawan

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Pests attacked about 5,000 coconut trees in Southern Palawan in what agricultural officials suspect was due to ornamental plants brought to the province from Manila.

Coconut leaf beetles (Brontispa longgissima), which feed on young leaves and damages seedlings and mature coconut palms, ruined coconut trees in the municipalities of Roxas, Taytay and El Nido, said Clare Mendes, senior agriculturist of the Philippine Coconut Authority Palawan office.

She said there was a strong possibility that the pest outbreak was due to ornamental plants for use in landscaping bought to Southern Palawan from Manila

Mendes said the infestation had been controlled but not completely eradicated, prompting a stricter monitoring of transport of seedlings and other palm plants in the province.

To curb the spread of the plant disease in other parts of the province, the PCA has promoted the use of natural bio-control, a pest management approach that relies on predation, parasitism, and herbivory or other natural mechanisms. Through this method, the pest population is controlled by the introduction of natural enemies.

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