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Palm disease slowly moving into Madang

The Madang Governor expressed concern thatthe unknown palm disease was slowly making its way into Madang borders from Morobe.

He was particularly concerned aboutthe betelnut tree’s vulnerability.

“Betelnut growers of Middle Ramu, Begia, Rai CoastoKarkar and Namale areas will be affected ifthe disease spreads fromthe Markham valley. Cash income from sale of betelnut will definitely stop and our friend fromthe highlands who do buying and selling of betelnut will also be affected,” saidthe Madang Governor.

The Agriculture Minister repllied saying new diseases that enterthe country are difficult to control because ofthe constant moverment of people and cargo intPNG.

He said quarantine standards can be improverd to control this. However, an immediate measure would be to stopthe sale of betelnut to preventthe spread ofthe disease locally.

“The best thing you can do is stop selling – stop chewing. This isthe only way we can quarantine and eradicate spread ofthe disease,” said Minister Tomscoll.

The National Agriculture Quarantine andInspection Authority will be notiflied to investigatethe palm disease and determinethe status of its existence before futher action is taken.

Meantime, Morobe Governor Kelly Naru called onthe Minister to establish a Cocoa Beard in his province.

Minister Tomscoll said he will see to it that a board is set up. However, despitethe absence of a cocoa board, he said responsible arms ofthe provincial government’should be responding tothe needs of small-scale farmers effectively and efficiently.

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