Regional effort needed in Beetle fight - Solomon Star News

Regional effort needed in Beetle fight

14 August 2017
A coconut tree infected by the 'Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle'.

A CONCERTED regional effort is required to eradicate the invasive pest Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB), General Manager of Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Limited (GPPOL) Craig Gibsone says.

Mr Gibsone on Sunday warned that it is only a matter of time before the pest reaches Vanuatu and Fiji or even the more coconut- dependent countries such as Kiribati and Tuvalu.

“I would like more attention to be paid to the CRB and its potential impact not only on Solomon Islands as we have seen.

“The CRB has passed from Guam to Papua New Guinea and to Guadalcanal and is spreading on the most populous Malaita and also the volcanic Savo Island.

“This is really a regional problem and will have regional consequences.

“There needs to be a combined effort across the whole Pacific to eradicate this invasive pest,” he told this paper.

Mr Gibsone said he is concerned that CRB is going to have devastating impacts on the national economy and food security.

“I believe the solution is further research to identify ways in which the beetle can be controlled.

 “Some research has been done within the Pacific, but more is required in order to come up with a long-lasting and economical solution.

“There are experts within the region that have the capability to do this but more attention needs to be given to the urgency of the problem,” he added.

The GPPOL oil palm plantation was invaded by these invasive pests two years ago.

“So far we are trying out many things to control the beetle, but we are yet to find anything that is effective enough to impact on the beetle population.

The GPPOL General Manager said it is the smallholder oil palm growers and also coconut growers who are hard hit by the beetle invasion as they do not have the resources to implement their own control measures.