Chottu told Solomon Star that he has evidence to prove that what he stated in the media last week is true.
In the revelation, he said the Rhinoceros beetles (CRB) is beginning to infest on noni and other plant and that this is not to attack or disrupt any farmer’s effort but to take into consideration the threats that the deadly creature is going to pose to the Noni Industry.
He said what businessman and noni farmer, Bernard Garo said in the Island Sun newspaper is just utter ignorance. Chottu said he has video evidence to prove what he has reported.
“A real farmer will know that climate change has affected livestock and crops, therefore the different methods to apply for pests and diseases will never be the same as pests and disease are adapting to their new environment for their fittest survival,” Chottu said.
However, he said there is no scientific proof yet to confirm that CRB is attacking noni but there is scientific proof that in order for an organism to thrive, it needs to adapt to its changing environment and pests will have to look for other means for survival when their food surplus is scarce.
“The new strain of CRB is an indication that these beetles are adapting to a new environment in necessary means to survive, so will indicate that these beetles are adapting to a new environment in necessary means to survive, so will be other pests and it should not be considered lightly for farmers will lose a lot by relying on old and outdated information,” Chottu said.
He added with Garo mentioned that the noni industry will end, is a poor excuse and illogic, for the concern here is to uplift the fear of any attacks on noni plants by pests and diseases and this concern about beetles attacking noni is for the betterment of the industry.
“My previous comment was never to tarnish farmers’ effort but to promote healthy noni plants that are pest/disease-free.
“If they claimed this is not true, then why are noni farms infested with beetles which destroyed the noni fruit. And should this be ignored like it was ignored the first time until all the coconut palms were completely destroyed like in the past?
“Do we need to ignore it as well? Or rely on how many years this farmer said he has been doing as a farmer? This noni industry is a new industry, (not even 20 years old) we are not fully equipped with enough information on its pest/disease.
“The point raised here now is, “noni has been attacked by beetles of somewhat species whether it is CRB or any other beetles “it is not something to overlook and ignore,” Chottu said.
He added it is a concern raised for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to carry out their research and investigate or there will be a greater loss for farmers and the country as a whole.
“We should work together and stop blaming each other on whatever political agenda anyone might be suspicious of and cooperate in fighting against any local or exotic diseases that we are to encounter concerning these noni farms. It will be the loss for us all if we ignore these threats and rely on assumptions that we are okay,” Chottu insists.
By ESTHER NURIA