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Chemrez develops organic spray oil to eradicate coconut scale insects

MANILA, Philippines - Listed agro-chemical firm Chemrez Technologies Inc. has released an organic spray oil that promises to eradicate coconut scale insects in 48 hours.

According to product distributor Sinochem Crop Protection (Phil) Inc., the product called Crop Guard, had been tested in coconut plantations in Calabarzon and Basilan.

Sinochem country manager Bernard Canapi said Cropguard has been registered with the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority (FPA) and has been granted emergency use approval.

Canapi said a test conducted by the University of the Philippines in Los Banos showed that Cropguard begins to kill coconut scale insects 48 hours after application.

“Coconut farms that have used it report complete eradication in 7 to 10 days,” said Canapi.

Spraying organic pesticide is one of the measures that would be employed in the Scale Insect Emergency Action Program, a six-month emergency program recently launched by the government to contain the coconut scale infestation that has already affected 1.7 million coconut trees.

“Cropguard is easily biodegradable and is not listed as an organic pollutant as it is made from food grade vegetable oil,” said Canapi.

Chemrez managing director Dean Lao Jr. said coconut farmers could readily hire spray teams to apply Cropguard in an efficient manner.

“These spray teams are currently idle since the season for spraying mango orchards is over,” he said.

Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis Pangilinan recently launched the Scale Insect Emergency Action Program in Quezon province.

The government has earmarked P460 million for the implementation of the first phase of the project that would run from June to August, while P204 million and P88 million has been allocated for the second and third phase of the program, respectively.

The scale insects attacking coconut plants feed on sap drawn from the plant’s vascular system.

This results to the yellowing of leaves, progressing to drying and wilting in young and old palms. Premature nut fall also contributes to yield reduction.

The worsening infestation is an added blow to the coconut industry which has only begun recovering from the damage caused by Typhoon Yolanda which demolished 34 million coconut trees in November last year.

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