By Martha Louis – EMTV News, Madang
The Bogia coconut syndrome or termed as ‘phytoplasma’ found in coconut palms is a plant disease spread by insects, that has killed hundreds of coconut palms in Madang province.
Managing Director of Kokonas Indastri Koporesen, Dr. James Kaiulo, says this disease is only found in Madang.
There is a checkpoint set up at Tapo, which connects Madang to the national highway, which ensures the disease does not spread to other provinces.
Although it was discovered more than 2 decades ago, it was only reported in 2007. At present, this disease can be hosted by taro and banana, and possibly yam. This disease can also spread to oil palm.
If not dealt with, the Bogia Coconut Syndrome poses a risk to food security, as it is now affecting taros, bananas and possibly yams.
The Kononas Indastri Koporesen has also discovered that the disease has also spread to Karkar Island and around the border areas of Madang and East Sepik.
There is no treatment for phytoplasma. The only way to sustain the coconut industry is to plant BCS-resistant coconut varieties.