The coconut rhinoceros beetle – Guam biotype which has affected the coconut industry is also a threat to the oil palm industry.
And concerned stakeholders have called on the Government to take preventative measures to address the threat.
Major oil palm industry company, New Britain Palm Oil Limited, says the beetle is resistant to current control measures and will spread without control if not dealt with.
In response, the Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, Hon. Benny Allan, has instructed the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority and Kokonas Indastri Koporesen, to immediately prepare a submission for the National Executive Council.
NBPOL senior executives Robert Nilkare and Ian Orrell met with officials from DAL, NAQIA, KIK, and Hon. Benny Allan and Vice Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Henry Ame, to discuss the situation and work out strategies to deal with the threat.
NBPOL officials has proposed for the Government to counter fund research into the new pest threatening the oil palm industry. They said that oil palm plantations in the Solomon Islands have been affected and they don’t want the same to occur in PNG.
The spread of the pest is reportedly taking place in the Central Province and moving along the coast towards Milne Bay where NBPOL has oil palm estates.
Both NBPOL and government scientists agree that the previous coconut rhinoceros beetle-Pacific (CRB-P) biotype has been managed within the country, however, the new biotype is creating a problem that needs to be addressed quickly.
Hon. Benny Allan called on all parties in government and private sector to work together and develop strategies to ensure that the pest is contained and any outbreak is dealt with positively to safeguard the country’s major crops industries.