BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
A group of professionals have ended a workshop yesterday with a set of awareness strategy to eradicate the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) in Solomon Islands.
The workshop convened agricultural and communications professionals from regional, government and private sectors in Solomon Islands to identify communication messages and methods to be used.
Participants came with awareness plans and strategic communication messages and methods targeting villagers, industries, townsfolk and decision makers.
These collective strategies have been taken on board as the Government and Palm Industries CRB Taskforce awareness strategies, which the team will finalise to become part of CRB communication strategies and implementation plan.
Coordinator of the CRB Response, Mr Bob Macfarlane said the professionals have been convened to discussed ideas and identify the audience to ensure the rhino beetle does not destroy palms across the province.
He said the workshop is significant because the beetle has not yet reached many parts of the country, thus the discussions on preventing its further spread.
Mr Macfarlane said main identified target audience is villagers.
SPC’s Dr Maclean Vaqalo said the workshop has come up with strategy and method of how to deliver message clear for the understanding of people in the villages.
“This workshop is expected that there is a need to have clear messages to different level of stakeholders and come up with strategy and method of how to deliver messages to communities,” Vaqalo said.
“What we need to do act fast rather than talk about it but need to go down to the village level and strategize that message with action.”
To eradicate the CRB, he said the country needs better coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, bio-security, farmers and other industries such as logging.
The coconut industry is worth $150 million to Solomon Islands’ economy. This represents a significant percentage of the country’s foreign exchange earnings, most of which goes directly to the village level.