Teamwork called for in bee disease fight

Joint quarantine efforts are underway in the battle against honey bee diseases (apiculture) in the Eastern Highlands Province, says Wilson Thompson, president of the Highlands Farmers and Settlers Association.

“As per the declaration by the Minister for Agriculture and Livestock regarding quarantine in the Highlands region, under the Animal Disease Control Act, the Bee Office in Goroka has been in charge in taking preventative and control measures,” Wilson said.

Minister Tommy Tomscoll has called, upon advice, the seven Highlands provinces to restrict movement of bees and materials used for honey production between districts and provinces.

“Area covered included Daulo, Unggai Bena, Henganofi, Okapa and parts of Lufa. Goroka will be completed soon,” Wilson said.

“Kainantu and Obura Wonenara have not been visited yet due to logistical issues. It is anticipated that the districts or EHPG could release additional funds for the purpose.”

Wilson said some support for disease control efforts in Eastern Highlands has been coming forward from different organisations for the public good of controlling the tropilealaps disease.

“The EHPG allocated K10, 000 that was used to purchase chemical strips. Also further chemical strips and fuel were supplied by PNG Beekeeping Supplies,” he said.

Wilson said that logistical support is being provided by the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Coffee Industry Corporation, Eastern Highlands Division of Primary Industries, Inland Fisheries, and the Smallholder Support Services Project. Some leading farmers are also involved.

He stated that despite the control measures in EHP, the outbreak of spread of the tropilealaps disease cannot be contained if other areas such as the remaining parts of EHP or other Highlands provinces do not apply the same measures

“It is anticipated that the National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority will communicate with the respective provincial administrations to undertake similar measures.”

Wilson also called on farmers in the six districts who have missed out to contact their Rural Development officers who should further contact the team facilitating the exercise.

Seniorl Anzu