The number is still increasing from the initial 12 gardens identified since March 2017.
The total area of coffee infested with the pest in EHP is estimated to be around 380 hectares, with only 71.9 ha rehabilitated to date.
Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) chief executive officer, Charles Dambui, said ongoing efforts on rehabilitation and awareness must continue and acknowledged the government’s support of K5 million for CBB fight in the supplementary budget.
“The K5 million allocation is basically to start mobilising labour, tools and chemicals, including conducting awareness to contain and manage the spread of CBB.”
He said the corporation is anticipating more funding support to combat CBB in the budget proper for 2018 and going forward.
Recent reports indicate that the pest is spreading at an alarming rate from infested gardens to clean gardens.
General manager for Research, Growers Services Division, Dr. Mark Kenny, explained that infested gardens in Jiwaka had rose from initial nine gardens to 24 at present, covering an area of 26.4ha.
In Eastern Highlands, many smallholder gardens, including plantations, are infested with CBB. A total of three plantations are infested with the pest; Roka and Wantrifu in Asaro and Arikayufa in the Unggai-Bena district. Block holders include Gire Gire and Konarot, all from Asaro Valley are also infested.
In Jiwaka, all gardens with CBB are smallholders except for two coffee blocks at Tolu and Waghi Clothes. The spread in the province is around Banz town and Tolu area. The coffee gardens in Minj are isolated in only two areas. The infested gardens are located in Kukmil and Sipil in Minj.
Mr. Dambui said the remaining months of 2017 will look at continuing current rehabilitation efforts, carry out awareness and deliver training for long term CBB management through group mobilisation.
(Small coffee farmers like Jeffery Gimikure, from the Asaro Valley in Eastern Highlands Province, are already feeling the pinch of added labour to minimise the spread of the pest)