Biosecurity encourages certification of plants and animals

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BY GEORGINA KEKEA

BIOSECURITY department within the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) are trying to ensure our country is protected from exotic pests from outside countries.

Speaking to participants at the recent chocolate festival, Crispus Fanai says the biosecurity plays a very important role in the country’s livestock and resources and needs cooperation from everyone.

Mr Fanai says farmers need to understand the role of biosecurity and the role they play in the industry. He says certificates of declaration on plants or animals for exports are very important.

He said there are conditions attached to imports and exports thus it is very important that farmers or general public in general understand the importance of such processes.

He said one particular pest which they are concerned about currently is the cocoa pod borer that is now infesting cocoa plants in Bougainville.

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He said the losses felt by PNG now is huge and the biosecurity department are wary of this pest. He said Bougainville is just next to our country and with the movement between the two borders, there is a high chance for Solomon Islands to get the pest into our country.

Fanai says if the cocoa pod borer happens to come into our country, the damages caused will be huge and it is our local farmers who will suffer.

“And this is just a small insect like the mosquito but it has the power to damage our crops. Once it enters our country, there will be a big problem for us.”

Fanai says the cocoa pod borer is a new pest which we are yet to understand. He says what the general public, more so those on the border between Solomon Islands and PNG, they must make sure they follow the right processes so as not to bring in unwanted pests.

He said anyone wishing to bring in plants or animals must make sure they are certified first before bringing them in.

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