Highlands News

CBB expert in PNG to consult on deadly pest

A coffee berry borer (CBB) expert Dr Juan F. Barrera is already in the country to consult on how best to manage the deadly pest, a press statement from Coffee Industry Corporation (CICI) today (August 8) reports.

Dr Barrera had met with the chief executive officer of Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) Charles Dambui and two general managers Steven Tumae (Operations) and Dr Mark Kenny (Research & Extension) in Goroka on Monday, August 6 2018.  Also in attendance was Manager of CIC’s Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project Mr Potaisa Hombunaka whose office facilitated Dr Barrera’s engagement.

Dr Barrera who has 35 years’ experience in holistic pest management including CBB in Mexico and other Central American countries will have consultations with the CBB team, a focus group which will comprise selective industry stakeholders and leading farmers and advise on options for short and long-term management of the pest.

Some of Dr Barrerra’s key tasks and responsibilities are as follow:

  • To review current CIC actions on CBB and provide options to eradicate and or containment of the pest;
  • To convene a focus group to obtain CBB management information; and
  • To analyse the impact of CBB on coffee production, quality and its market implications.

He will also visit affected coffee gardens and blocks in Jiwaka and Eastern Highlands Provinces to see firsthand the infestation level and eradication and containment efforts that have been undertaken by the local CBB team. Dr Barrerra will also visit Bundi area of Madang Province following recent reports of CBB presence in some coffee gardens.

Whilst welcoming Dr Barrerra to Goroka, CEO Dambui advised respective divisions and CBB team to provide necessary information to help him put together a plan in his 30-day assignment. Dr Barrerra’s engagement was made possible by CIC-PPAP to provide a 30-day consultancy service on how best to control and management CBB infestation in the affected areas.

“We have started some work already with CBB on the ground but your expert advice will really help us in our effort against CBB,” said Mr Dambui.

Project manager of CIC-PPAP Mr Hombunaka said PNG is the second last coffee producing country to have CBB and our approach must be realistic.

“The CBB is here to stay. What we should focus on is how best we can manage and live with it like HIV/AIDS.”

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