BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
SIGNS of infestation of Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) are increasing around Ngella as the Agriculture Division in Central Islands Province (CIP) is yet to confirm new reported sites.
Currently affecting palm trees along Ngella’s Central, South and N/East coasts, indicators of CRB are now visible in North Ngella (Boromole) and along the Sandfly Passage at Leitongo. This is causing anxiety in the community and locals are calling on the Ministry of Agriculture (MAL) to help them address the situation.
From the Agriculture Division at Tulaghi, it is suspected that the pest must have already spread through the whole constituency.
According to MAL’s Director of Quarantine Bio-security Mr Francis Tsatsia, their Officers are yet to return to Ngella for their task in clearing CRB’s. They are waiting for the national government to pass the Budget first.
Recently Bob Macfarlane, Coordinator of Government and Palm Industries CRB Task Force, says continuous attack by Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle’s (CRB) will have an impact on the oil palm and coconut productions in Solomon Islands.
He confirmed that hundreds of coconut and palm oil trees in the country are already destroyed by the CRB’s.
“From reports received, the beetle has already spread along the north coast of Guadalcanal and has invaded north Malaita, Savo and Ngella. Currently the worst effects can be seen around Honiara but if the beetle gets to village coconut plantations then the impact on copra production will be huge reported,” said Mr Macfarlane.
Larvae and adults of CRB’s were also recently reported to be found on an Island at Russell. This has also increased the anxiety amongst locals who rely on the coconut. This includes fear for betel-nut and Sago-palm trees as well.
In a recent press statement, Macfarlane has reminded people to be aware of the serious nature of the beetle problem and the very high importance of destroying the breeding sites as it is the only tool at the moment for reducing their population.
Failure to do this will mean CRB’s population will increase and more palm trees will be destroyed.