INDONESIAN PEST THREATENS PNG COFFEE INDUSTRY

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post Courier, May 2) – Papua New Guinea, Australia and other Pacific island countries must put in place effective control measures to stop the Coffee Bean Borer (CBB) spreading from Indonesia.

A CBB emergency response plan meeting in Port Moresby was told that the impact of the pests spreading east from nearby Papua would be devastating as it would spread immediately to Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and even Australia affecting coffee beans.

Senior entomologist with the Coffee Industry Corporation Limited Nelson Simbiken told stakeholders that the pest was found in all coffee growing countries except for the PNG.

In the Pacific CBB is present in New Caledonia and there have been reports of sightings in Fiji.

Mr Simbiken said the presence of the pest in nearby West Papua was of concern to PNG and PNG needed to act immediately to control the pest from destroying its K340 million [US$126 million] coffee industry.

"If it comes into PNG, it will go to Solomon Islands, it will go to Vanuatu and onto Australia," Mr Simbiken said.

The Coffee Bean Borer is a beetle 1.5mm to 2.5mm in length.

The pauper is so small that it can not be clearly seen with naked eyes.

The female lays up to 50 eggs which hatch after nine days.

According to Mr Simbiken, the female is the most destructive destroying most of the coffee beans.

Adult females bore a hole in coffee berries and lay their eggs near the two coffee beans found inside the berry. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the beans, rendering them unsuitable for commerce or greatly lowering their quality

CIC deputy chairman James Koimo said the coffee industry in PNG comprised of 397,000 smallholder families equivalent to 2.5 million people, 250 blocks, 60 plantations, an estimated 500 roadside buyers , 50 dry processors, 40 wet bean processors, 13 green bean exporters and four roasters and all these peopel styand to lose if this pest was not controlled in teh early stages.

"Hence the destruction of the coffee industry means destruction of the lives of a vast majority of our people," Mr Koimo said.

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