40 percent of coffee volume threatened by pest

Forty per cent of the country’s coffee export volume is at risk of being destroyed if the ‘Coffee Berry Borer’ pest is not adequately contained.

Minster for Agriculture and Livestock said it was the government’s intention not to let this happen.

The discovery of the CBB pest, the supply of coffee from the Highlands region is expected to drop following the announcement of a quarantining of the pest from six provinces.

The developments come at a tome when coffee exports were on the rise and with good coffee prices.

Tomscoll said 1.13 million bags of coffee were exported last year. This translated into K650 million entering the country.

“It is in the interest of the Government that this industry must be protected. This pest has the capacity to destroy 40 per cent of our volume. So if you lose 40 per cent, in real meaning in money, you are going to lose between K200 to K300 million annually that comes to Papua New Guinea as a foreign exchange,” said Tomscoll.

He said that smallholders, who represent 85 per cent of total coffee export contributions, would be hit hard with 3.5 million people to be directly affected.

Also the pest had the ability to create a food security problem and also displace families and communities.

Tomscoll has called for smallholders and farmers to assist the joint inspection and monitoring officers comprising of the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC), the National Quarantine Inspection Authority (NAQIA), and the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL).

“I appeal particularly to our smallholders to understand that this is a fight ot for their own, we are with them. But we need their cooperation. If there is a need to cut your coffee tree, please abide. The best way to eradicate this disease is to cut your tree and bury the waste,” he said.

“Never allow beans to form and stay because that’s where it will provide the home to coffee berry borer. So we need to get rid of the beans. And if you are asked, please assist.”

Meanwhile, the joint inspection and monitoring team will begin its delimiting survey immediately to determine and solution to containing the CBB pest as well as find out how it entered the country.

Picture credit: Cedric Patjole

Cedric Patjole