Fear in Western province over rhinoceros beetle


One of the coconut tree infested by Rhinoceros beetle close to the Wesleyan Methodist Church area in Gizo. PHOTO BY PAGEPITU ALFRED

SIGHTINGS of the deadly rhinoceros beetle has caused alarm for people in Western province for fear of their coconut plantations and copra business.

A Mr Andrew Koke said that their coconut trees are infested by the beetle.

“There is a growing threat for the coconut tree industry if the spread of the coconut rhinoceros beetle intensifies and remains untreated in the province.

“People of Ranonga, Vella la Vella, Gizo, Simbo, Kolombangara, Vona vona, Roviana, Marovo Lagoon and as far from Shortland Islands are now worried because coconut tree is really important to the people and one of the main income sources in the province.”

Another concerned resident Mr Moses calls on responsible authorities for help in eradicating the pest from the province.

He reinforces the call for quick action before the beetle spreads to extensive levels which would prove ‘very difficult’ to address.

When contacted Gizo Bio-security Division of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of the Western province said that they have received reports on the matter and they are working on it by installing traps close to the affected coconut trees.

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