By: James Loyola

An organic spray oil has been tested to be effective in eradicating coconut scale insects (CSI) or “cocolisap” and is a fast, safe and cheap option for farmers in Calabarzon and Basilan to contain the infestation that is threatening to wipe out their source of livelihood.

     Sinochem Crop Protection (Phil.) Inc. country manager Bernard L. Canapi said his company has just been appointed as the distributor of Cropguard which is an organic spray oil developed by local green science firm Chemrez Technologies Inc.

     Cropguard is the only organic product registered with the Fertilizer and Pesticides Authority and has been granted the Emergency Use Approval to help contain coconut scale insect infestation.

 An in vitro test by the University of the Philippines Los Baños showed that Cropguard begins to kill CSI in 48 hours after application while coconut farms that have used it report complete eradication in 7 to 10 days.

Organic spray of infested trees is one of the measures that will be used by the coconut scale insect task force of Special Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis Pangilinan.

“Chemrez came out with their Cropguard formulation which is basically oil-based…it was effective in killing the scale insects,” said PhilHybrid Inc. chairman Bernardo Jose B. Mitra in a letter to Pangilinan.

Mitra informed Pangilinan that “Cropguard is a lot cheaper” compared to alternative pesticides and methods that they have tried against coconut scale insects. Philhybrid has a 10-hectare farm in Sto. Tomas planted with 1,000 high value Makapuno coconut trees.
Cropguard is also approved by the Organic Materials Review Institute for use in organic production and processing products that are certified organic under the US Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program.

It is registered as organic material for organic farming systems with the Department of Agriculture/Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Product Standards pursuant to the Organic Farming Act.

     An environment-friendly product, Cropguard is easily biodegradable and is not listed as an organic pollutant as it is made from food grade vegetable oil.

Cropguard is non-toxic and does not irritate the skin or eyes. Its ingredients are generally regarded as safe by the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Food and Drug Administration.

Chemrez managing director Dean Lao Jr. said coconut farmers can 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 noted.

 “We are happy that Cropguard was effective in controlling the Coconut scale insects infestation in our farm. Furthermore, since Cropguard is an organic spray, we were able to adhere to our practice of “No Pesticides” in our organic farm in combating this deadly pest,” said Edgardo Mendoza who owns a coconut farm in Lipa City.

Robert Taylor, who owns a 50-hectare farm with over 3,000 coconut trees, said they used Cropguard last May and “CropGuard has been very effective in the total elimination and control of this pest in our plantation.”