Funding issue halts CBB tests

Government funding is needed so that DNA tests to establish the origins of the Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) pest found in Jiwaka and Eastern Highlands Provinces are done.

Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) Grower and Research Services General Manager, Dr Mark Kenny, said funding is needed for the tests to be carried out at the University of Florida in the USA.

The samples were sent in March and since then have remained untouched.

“We have been in contact with our partner in the US and our samples are yet to go through the testing,” said Kenny.

“Everything cost money and the samples that we are sending away, they are sort of commercial laboratories so we need funding for everything.”

Kenny tells Loop PNG they have exhausted their own internal funding for the containment exercise, which began in March, and are now running on a shoe-string budget.

He said they have been informed that the National Executive Council (NEC) has approved funding for the containment but it is yet to be released.

The CIC, along with its partners in the National Agriculture & Quarantine Inspection Authority, and the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, need around K40 million to continue the containment exercise.

Meanwhile, global coffee prices fell for the month, adding more pressure to coffee growers whose beans have been significantly reduced due to the CBB pest.

Cedric Patjole