Not Yet a Threat, But Coffee Industry Wary of Potential Bug

By Adelaide Kari – EM TV, Port Moresby

The coffee industry contributes well over K500 million per year to the economy of Papua New Guinea, but a tiny beetle no more than 1.8mm in length could potentially threaten one of our biggest industries. The coffee borer, or Hypothenemus Hampei, is native to Africa and just like many of us, has a penchant for coffee. The only difference being, that it can potentially be fatal.  

Coffee Industry Corporation Acting CEO Charles Dambui says that if the beetle were to ever make its way to PNG, it has the potential to eradicate the coffee industry prior to a response even being formulated.  

The Coffee Industry Corporation currently has the National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority working with them to get information on how best to react if an issue such as this was to ever surface here in Papua New Guinea.  

The coffee borer is part of a sub family of beetles that is listed to be the most damaging insect in the world.

It lives and multiplies in the host plant, which is the reason in which is becomes virtually impossible to eradicate. In 2010, the beetle was found to have made its way to the Hawaiian island of South Kona, which in turn bought about a re-think of the Island’s quarantine laws. 

Acting CEO Dambui also stated that due to a lack of funding the industry, along with NAQIA, were unable to carry out in-depth research on how best to control the pest should it find its way to PNG.

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