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  The Tree of Life for Life The Coconut Tree, often considered by Filipinos as the tree of life, provides us with different useful things coming from roots up to the fruits. The word coconut may refer to the entire palm tree, the seed or the fruit. But botanically speaking, the coconut we know is not a nut but instead, it is a drupe. A drupe is an indehiscent fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a shell of hardened endocarp with a seed inside. The coconut tree is dominant in tropical countries, especially in areas with high humidity. Juan’s Coco Industry Back in 2010, the Philippines was the top producer of coconut in the whole world, with a record of an estimated 19.5 million tons. The Philippines was followed by two fellow Asian countries, Indonesia and India, ranking 2 nd  and 3 rd  respectively. The Philippines entered the “Coco - Water” industry in the past years. The Coco -Water was a hit in the US and other foreign countries. It was used as a healthy alternative to carbonated drinks and energy drinks. Vita Coco, a leading manufacturer of Coco-Water is planning to invest $15 million in the Philippines over the following years. Although the Philippines is pushing forward in the coconut industry, a problem is arising, hindering the continuous growth of the industry. Cocolisap: The Industry’s “underminer”   The scale insects (Aspidiotus rigidus) popularly known as the “Cocolisap” are small plant parasites that feed on the leaves of young palms and surface of the fruits. The Cocolisaps are distinguishable by their white, scaly characteristic and are usually seen under the leaves of infested trees. These pests prefer hot and dry weather which allow them to reproduce faster. The 2009 El Nino that hit the CALABARZON area, especially Batangas, is suspected as the cause of the fast reproduction of the pests. When a tree is infected, the leaves wilt and its color turns to yellow, thus preventing photosynthesis to happen. This causes premature nuts to fall and results to poor productivity. Aside from palm trees, the Cocolisap also attacks ornamental plants and other fruit bearing trees like lanzones, mangosteen, guava, mango, papaya, and avocado. Solutions to Juan’s Coconut Problems   To prevent further spreading and damaging other crops, the Philippine government formulated solutions to help our farmers on their pest problems.  One of the solution was injecting and spraying insecticides to the infected trees. But toxicologists, scientist and farmers were alarmed with this “toxic” approach of the government. Neonicotinoids, the substance which is injected and sprayed over the infected coconuts, is highly toxic and lethal to the environment and humans. Meanwhile, a Bulacan based inventor discovered an organic way to fight these pests. Jesse Ambrocio developed an organic spray that he calls Green and Blue Earth Enterprises Beneficial Effective Micro Organism or GBEEBEMO. The GBEEBEMO according to Ambrocio is a combination of four different organic compounds which are all eco-friendly. Another, scientists from the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) discovered a natural way to fight back the pestering Cocolisap. The group discovered the natural enemy of the Cocolisap. The Comperiell sp (Encytidae, Hymenoptera),an insect native to the Philippines, is a natural enemy of the pest. The parasitoid which is described like a wasp and a relative of bees, punctures the scales of the Cococlisaps and deposits its eggs into the host insect. The larvae then feeds on the pests internal tissues until the host dies. The process then takes about 25 days. After the Cocolisap broke out, may the rising industry of the so called Tree of Life, push forward to help the country.


Jul 23, 2017
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