The Kokonas Indastri Koporasen has recently identified the new coconut Rhinoceros beetle or CRB in Madang that is attacking and destroying coconuts.
CRB is a major pest of coconut and oil palm that causes damage to the crown of the coconut palms causing a decline in yielding.
The disease was found in Kananam village and a team of experts from KIK were there for a week to identify and destroy infected coconuts before the disease spreads to other parts of the province.
The team carried out a cultural sanitation method to destroy the breeding sites of the Coconut Rhinoceros beetle.
According to KIK, both the Coconut Rhinoceros beetle and Bogia Coconut syndrome were found in coconuts in Kananam.
The CRBs while feeding make holes and tunnels into the stem of the palm, leaving distinct holes that are visible.A severe attack can cause all crown fronds to fall and gradually kill the palm leaving behind a dead standing palm.
The dead palms remain after a beetle attack and further act as breeding sites.
Since the KIK cannot do chemical treatment as it is too expensive and also given that the palms are very tall, they are only carrying out the cultural method.
The infected palms are cut down including other possible CRB hosts and burnt in order to completely destroy the disease from spreading.
KIK acted quickly to contain the sickness from spreading given that Madang is in the top five copra producing provinces in the country.
Apart from that coconut is not only a cash crop but a food crop for the people, and it is important to destroy both the beetle and the syndrome.
Community leader, Philip Tagau, says Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle has affected their daily cash flow not only with coconuts, but also betel nuts and other palm plants villagers depend on.
Tagau says the community welcomed the efforts by KIK in helping locals sustain their daily nutritional meals and their cash flow.