Advisor to the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) National Taskforce, Bob Macfarlane, said the meeting was basically to work on a new project funded under the New Zealand Government to help eradicate the CRB in the Solomon Islands.
Mr. Macfarlane said the project will mostly work closely with the communities to do away with dead coconut trees and rotten coconut logs as the main breeding sites for the CBR.
He said the work might start at Lambi or Aola in Guadalcanal and then go through community by community helping people to clean up their coconut plantations.
Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL), Oswald Ramo, in a statement to this paper said the country is facing a serious challenge in terms of pest damaging the coconut trees.
“In Honiara alone, there is devastation with regards to coconut where over the last four years, we have 90% of the palms have been severely damaged or are now dead due to the CRB.
“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,” Mr Ramo further added.
However, Mr Ramo said he is pleased with the meeting especially to see stakeholders holding hands together with dedication as they continue to work out plans to get rid of the CRB.
“I am pleased to see the unity and resolve we have from all stakeholders and their absolute dedication to the clean-up task,” he said.
The meeting was held yesterday at the CEMA Building at Point Cruz and it’s a whole day meeting which brought together Government officials, private sector and international participants from New Zealand and Australia.
By IAN M.KAUKUI