Dear Editor - Solomon Islands is a poor and infancy cash economy country in the world in which its 90 % of population are living in the rural areas and depend entirely on the natural resources from the land and sea to sustain their daily survival.
Most of its export commodities come from agricultural cash crops such as coconut and cocoa.
The uncontrolled incoming of foreign agricultural pests experience today is a huge threat for future survival of this poor nation.
It is a critical time in which the Government of the day must assist by providing enough funding through its responsible ministry – the Ministry of agriculture in order to address this issue before the nation is heading to a situation in which food security is at stake.
Although it is everybody’s business in dealing with this issue, the Agriculture Quarantine now called Bio-security department within the Ministry of agriculture must not forget to take a leading roles and obligation with their expertise of knowledge and skills in pest and disease management in addressing this issue.
The ill functioning of this department means the nation is at great risk for future more new coming of foreign pest’s infestation
The lack of emergency planning and poor surveillance program within this department greatly need more emphasis from its management and administration for better service delivery.
It has been noted that there is lack of necessary chemical drugs and medication in stock and special reserve funds for any emergency situations that may rise within Bio security department.
And so when African snail first seen at Ranadi sea shore site non- effective eradication measures being carried out due to lack of resources.
The Department knows very well that the arrival of this pest is of high chance due to the fact that it is already infested in some of our closed Pacific countries.
Also the lack of surveillance program within the department create a situation in which its officers do not alert and keep track on how many oversea logging boats are landing at Honiara sea shore knowing pretty well that this is a common pathway for foreign pests invasion into the country.
Today, the infestation of these dangerous pests the coconut Rhinoceros beetle and African snail create huge threats towards the prosperity of the coconut and oil palm industries and vegetable growers. It has a great impacts on the livelihood and cash economy of our nation.
The roles and obligation of Bio security department is seen vital for the future prosperity of agriculture industry and food security of this nation. It is significant for the current national government to put more funds for the implementation program of this department. The officers within this department must be supported to be proactive and committed with their work because we are faced with enormous challenges of future foreign invasion of pest and disease that put our crops and livestock production at stake.
Jacob Ofasia Savaleni