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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (January 3, 2000 - Papua New Guinea Post-Courier/PINA Nius Online)---East New Britain islanders have been urged to control the shipment of bananas following a banana fruit fly outbreak in the Papua New Guinea province.

An entomologist with the National Agricultural Research Institute, Dr. Adrian Schuhbeck, said that farmers should make sure that bananas of any species are consumed only at home and not exported.

"We are trying to inform people not to transport bananas to outer islands in order to control the spread of the pest," he said.

The banana fruit fly is one of 200 species that attack the fruit.

It does so after the female fly lays eggs on the fruit. As the banana ripens, the eggs hatch out as larvae and eat the fruit.

"Since the fruit fly was first spotted last year NARI has carried out a major monitoring program, which includes trapping the pest and carrying out awareness programs around the Gazelle and Kokopo areas," said Dr. Schuhbeck.

He said it was hard to monitor the little boats that travel to other islands and sometimes carry bananas.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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