Oil Palm and Coconut Under Threat, Authorities Say

Two leading cash crops in the Agriculture sector are under threat.

Agriculture Minister, Benny Allen, confirmed reports of the impacts caused by the presence of the coconut rhinoceros beetle identified by the Department.

Experts say it is likely the beetle can have severe effects on other cash crops or food sources. According to concerned authorities, the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle could cause severe damage to the oil palm and coconut industries.

The Agriculture Minister said the beetle was originally discovered in Guam, but has slowly spread across the Pacific.

Minister Allan says the Agriculture sector will do its best to minimize its effects by using preventive measures. The Coconut Rhino Beetle is less than 5cm in length, but can have significant negative impact on a country’s economy.

NBPOL has come on board from the private sector to back the Agriculture Department for a submission to Cabinet for resourcing of financial support in containing the coconut rhino beetle. Reports have shown that the coconut rhino beetle is already in the Central province, and is likely to spread to Milne Bay, Oro or Morobe.

Minister Allan says the case is urgent, and NEC will be tasked to quickly respond.

New Britain Palm Oil (NBPOL) representative says plantations in the Solomon Islands have been affected, and Government intervention must be quick before plantations around the country suffer the same fate.

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