The Coffee Industry Corporation has announced that the coffee berry borer pest has been identified in two Highlands Provinces- Jiwaka and the Eastern Highlands.
It has a confined presence at Kamiliki and Asaro in the Eastern Highlands. Both areas are strong contributors to the country’s annual coffee export numbers.
Authorities reassure stakeholders that coffee exports will not be affected, because the threat will be contained.
As an immediate approach, CIC CEO, Charles Dambui says they have sent scientists into the area to assess the situation.
“We’ve sent out officers to the affected areas,” says Dambui.
CIC Entomologist, Dr Nelson Simbiken says the pest is lethal, because it attacks the actual coffee beans that are bagged for export.
“If they produce ten bags, because of the coffee berry borer and if no control is put into place, they will lose six bags and make only four,” says Dr. Simbiken.
It comes when PNG enjoys a relatively high return on exporting coffee bags.
Last year the country made around K650 million in coffee exports.
The National Government and its authorities want to protect the industry.
Agriculture Minister, Tommy Tomscoll held, a press conference today to announce the National Government’s support toward the containment, and to reassure stakeholders that coffee exports will be safeguarded.
“We will look at the character and environment in that country in which that pest is from, so we can adapt and mitigate it in the same way they are doing,” says Tomscoll.
NAQIA (National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority) and CIC will establish quarantine checkpoints along the affected areas to stop the spread of the pest.
It’s going to cost the government at least K50-70 million to carry out the quarantine in the affected area.