Meeting to deal with Rhinoceros beetle today - Solomon Star News

Meeting to deal with Rhinoceros beetle today

18 July 2018

A meeting in Honiara brought together Government, private sector and international participants to develop a clean-up plan to manage Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB).   The Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL), Oswald Ramo, led the meeting and said; “Over the last four years, 90% of the palms in the Honiara area have been severely damaged or are now dead; this devastation is due to CRB. We have a serious challenge facing us all.”

Mr Ramo further added that;”Incursion of foreign pests into the Solomon Islands is a serious concern for our bio-security teams under the increasing pressure from global trade and climate change …and when an incursion gets beyond our border controls, we need a unified and well-resourced response.

“I am pleased to see the unity and resolve we have from all stakeholders and their absolute dedication to the clean-up task.”

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing $NZ1 million (approx. SBD5.4m) to support this project.

Deputy Head of Mission, Tim Breese, has been working closely with MAL, the Pacific Community (SPC), CRB National Taskforce, Strongim Bisnis, GPPOL, Kastom Gaden, PHAMA, and officials from the Prime Minister’s Office; who have all gathered to plan a CRB clean-up campaign.

 “New Zealand is proud to be supporting this group of stakeholders who are all dedicated to working together to control the very serious threat that the CRB poses to Solomon Islands,” said Mr Breese.

The clean-up campaign will target potential CRB breeding sites such as coconut logs, compost material and piles of green waste.

This green waste will be trucked away from the CRB zones and either buried, destroyed, or managed properly for compost.

Dr Jan Helsen, the Director of the Pacific Community (SPC) Land Resources Division, who are providing MAL with administrative and some technical support to this project said that; “SPC is playing a regional role by supporting Pacific Island Countries and Territories with programs to develop emergency response plans in the event of an incursion and by assisting in the strengthening bio-security pathways that could be entry points for CRB.”

It was highlighted there is no ‘silver bullet’ solution to removing the threat of CRB, but using every means possible to halt its spread is critical to ensuring the threat is managed.

To control CRB it is important to understand its life cycle and feeding habits.

CRB adults do their damage to palms by chewing and destroying leaves of palms while their larvae grow in plant-waste material and composts.

Cleaning up the breeding habitats is a key method to control CRB. Other methods include pheromone and gill-net trapping, bio-agent and pesticide applications.