BY LORETTA BRIGIDIA MANELE
THE Ministry of Agriculture (MAL) and the Guadalcanal planes plantation company (GPPOL) are uniting resources against the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle, Guam strain or CRB-G, the most destructive coconut pest that has arrived in the country.
This was revealed by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL), Mr Jimi Saelea at the Coconut Day event on Sept 25, 2017.
He said that CRB-G as a destructive pest and huge threat to coconut and palm oil industries has driven GPPOL and MAL to closely work together on developing a programme that will reduce the beetle population to a manageable level.
Mr Saelea added that the programme includes an active sanitation plan of action and biological control methods using virus and fungal diseases to kill the beetles.
“The Declaration of a CRB-G Emergency Area for North Guadalcanal by the Honorable Minister for Agriculture has activated sections within the Biosecurity Act to enable resources to be sought and bodies appointed to deal with the disaster.
“A Response Oversight Committee (ROC) has been appointed and a Coordination Office created to monitor and coordinate the activities by stakeholders.”
Mr Saelea pointed out that GPPOL, MAL, KPSI (Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands) and SICCI (Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry) have been involved in awareness activities and so other stakeholders must also contribute their time and resources in helping to eradicate or contain CRB-G.
“At the end of the day, it is the people that will be affected in the unlikely event.
“Kill a beetle a day and burn those rotting coconut logs to reduce the breeding sites and effectively reduce the beetle population”, he said.