The gradual increase of rhinoceros beetle in some part of Malaita may affect coconut oil producers and copra operators in Malaita province.
A prominent coconut crashing mill operator at Buma village in Ward 3, West Kwara’ae, Luke Ramokoloa says he’s worried that the obvious increase of deadly rhinoceros betel is posing a threat to his business.
He said his operation depends entirely on coconut farmers who sell their coconut products to his business for survival.
Ramokoloa added once the population of the rhinoceros beetle increases, all coconut oil processing operation in Malaita will grind to a halt.
He believes that the high existence of the betel in northern part of Malaita will easily spread to other parts, including the West Kwara’ae.
“If the rhinoceros beetle had arrived in the west Kwara’ae region, all affiliated coconut farmers will be directly affected, including my operation,” the coconut mill operator said.
“We want the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to inform the public on the current location of this deadly beetle.”
He adds that associated farmers at west Kwara’ae are worried, and are curiously looking out for any signs of the beetle.
Ramokoloa said at the moment no signs of the betel symptoms are sighted in their area.
The Sunday Star understands that the beetle population have already been reported in the provincial capital Auki and North Malaita.
By SOLOMON LOFANA