A TOTAL of SBD $3 million has been allocated by the government to fight against the deadly Rhinoceros Beetle which continues to destroy the coconut and oil palm plantations in the country.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Jimi Saelea revealed this on Monday in an exclusive interview with the Solomon Star.
He said this funding support of $3million will cater for a number of programmes to be implemented towards December this year.
Mr Saelea said the amount was approved in the latest supplementary budgetary allocation to the ministry to fight against the pest.
“The ministry will continue to lead the fight against this pest and communities must join the fight to contain its spread in the country.
“The funds will enable the ministry to implement its programmes to contain the spread of the invasive beetle towards December this year.”
He said the ministry will need further funding next year to continue the fight.
Mr Saelea said the Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Limited (GPPOL) and the ministry are closely working together to develop a programme aimed at reducing the Rhinoceros Beetle population to a manageable level.
He said the programme will includes an active sanitation plan of action and biological control methods using virus and fungal diseases to kill the pest.
“As we all know, having adequate resources including finance would enable the programme to be implemented effectively,” he added.
By AATAI JOHN