The effort is being led by senior executives of the coffee, industry including general manager for industry operations division, Steven Tumae.
“We’re yet to get financial support to fight CBB but we decided to take this course to get support from you farmers,” Tumae tells farmers at Warabung Village, Daulo District.
“You (farmers) must know the nature of this threat because coffee is the lifeline here, unlike other provinces with gold, copper, oil and gas.
“If the pest is in your garden, we need your help when our officers come to confirm and work with you. There are measures CIC inspectors will take, including full pruning of coffee trees depending on the nature of damage.
“They will sleep with you so you must house them and together we can eliminate this CBB pest, which we can.”
At Mando Valley and Asaro station in Asaro District, the farmers were advised on how to look after their coffee gardens to avoid becoming a host for CBB pest. The CIC inspectors also explained to them how the pest can destroy the cherry beans.
“You and the CBB pest will be fighting for the same bean. A 17 kilogram cherry bean will end up producing only one kg parchment coffee,” explains Dr Reuben Sengere, who is in charge of logistics for the CBB operation.
The awareness, which started on Wednesday, 24 May, at Mangiro Village road junction in the neighbouring Chuave District of Chimbu Province, moved across the Highlands Highway to Kassam Pass bordering Morobe Province.
On Friday 26 and Saturday 27 May, the team talked to farmers and general public in the Kainantu area towards Kassam Pass.
Tumae said while CIC and NAQIA are still waiting for approved funding, the CBB pest is spreading despite the efforts by CIC using its internal funding sources to contain the blow-out.
“Following the announcement of CBB pest incursion in Banz, Jiwaka in February 2017, the number of gardens infected has increased from 13 to 77 in three months.
“These infected gardens are in Banz in Jiwaka Province and Asaro and Goroka districts in Eastern Highlands Province,” adds Dr Sengere.
Tumae said this is how serious the threat is and financial support is crucial to protect an industry which caters for the wellbeing of close to three million rural farmers.
The awareness drive compliments the delimiting survey, mitigation and containment exercises conducted in various areas in the highlands as well as in Morobe coffee hotspots.
Tumae said the survey and traps set by CIC inspectors confirmed that Morobe at the moment is not affected by CBB.
(Farmer Thomas Nema, left, and children of Warabung Village showing their coffee garden to CIC inspectors to check if it is infected with CBB pest)