Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock permanent secretary, Jim Saelea has highlighted the importance of biosecurity in the country.
Speaking at the launching of the new biosecurity website at Heritage Park on Thursday, Saelea said Biosecurity Solomon Islands is set up to protect all plants and animals in the country.
Saelea said in particular, it is designed to protect the very backbone of their economy, agriculture, forestry, environment, and tourism.
“For example, biosecurity is here to facilitate safe trade and the safe movement of goods and people across our borders,” Saelea said.
“The important issue is that the movement is safe,” he added.
Saelea said Biosecurity Solomon Islands is charged to ensure new pests do not come into the country accidentally on goods that do not comply with their requirements.
“It only puts constraint on the movement of goods when there is a good scientific reason for doing so.
“The DCC Government sees the importance of protecting all plants and animals in the country, thus in its Policy Statement, clearly spells out six Strategic Actions which relates to Implementation of the Biosecurity Act,” he said.
Saelea said almost every day someone mentions Giant African Snail or Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle.
“The effects of these pests are clear for all to see around Honiara.
“They are examples of what happens when there is a weakness in biosecurity and believe me there are plenty more equally serious pests out there in neighbouring countries and elsewhere that could come in and cause similar damage to plants and animals here,” he said.
“For example, Papua New Guinea has important diseases of cocoa and coconuts that could seriously affect our crops; Australia has several fruit fly species we do not have here; and Asia has a long list of pest that we do not have and would be only too happy to come.
“These pests can hide in the most unusual places, not just on plants and animals coming in but under shipping containers, on used vehicles, in waste timber and in aircraft cabins,” he added.
By EDDIE OSIFELO