TUPI, South Cotabato – The Municipal Agriculturist of Tupi is now monitoring Barangay Cebuano after receiving reports that about 35 hectares of coconut plantation have been damaged by a new pest.
Agriculturist Danilo de Guzman described the new pest as the red round fungus beetle, the same leaf beetle that attacked coconut trees in Barangay Polonuling in October of 2016.
The pest caused P500,000 worth of damage in 50 hectares of coconut plantation.
Village official Ronaldo Bantang said the new pest attack has already affected 14 farmers with 571 coconut trees damaged. The value of the damaged trees is estimated at P114,200.
One of the farmers, Rogelio Patanao, discovered damaged coconut tree leaves two weeks ago. He fears that the condition might worsen and spread to his whole plantation.
The farmers will be assisted by local officials and the Philippine Coconut Authority to spray the trees with a mixture of fungi and water to help get rid of the pests.
Authorities estimate that it would take 6 months to 1 year before trees are rid of the pests.