Coffee Berry Borer (CBB)

Partnership research launches CBB modules

The modules were launched on Wednesday 9th August 2023 by Coffee Minister Joe Kuli in the presence of the Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) representatives, Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) staff and management and coffee industry stakeholders in Goroka.

Combating coffee berry borer

CBBs are spreading rapidly across coffee growing provinces, destroying coffee cherries and threatening the coffee industry. These 1.5mm black insects bore into the coffee cherry and destroy the valuable coffee bean inside. As a result, exporters are reporting lower quality and quantity of crops. CBB infestation rates in the Jiwaka, Western Highlands and Eastern Highlands Provinces are very high, causing a drastic drop in incomes for smallholder coffee farmers.

Focus on Coffee Berry Borer

“Another challenge the coffee industry is facing is the Coffee Berry borer which is eating into the farmers’ pocket as well, farmers are losing crop gradually because of the insect infestation on the crop. It’s now spreading Jiwaka, Eastern Highlands, Chimbu and that pest is moving,” said Chief Executive Officer for Coffee Industry Corporation, Charles Dambui, during the presentation of the cheques for price and freight subsidy.

CBB expert in PNG to consult on deadly pest

Dr Juan F. Barrera (PhD), who has 35 years’ experience in holistic pest management including CBB in Mexico and other Central American countries, met with the chief executive officer of Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC), Charles Dambui, and two general managers in Goroka on August 6th.

Dr Barrera will have consultations with the CBB team, a focus group which will comprise selective industry stakeholders and leading farmers and advise on options for short and long term management of the pest.

Coffee berry borer update

Agriculture Minister Benny Allan said he was pleased with the efforts so far in containing the pest from spreading outside the Eastern Highlands and Jiwaka provinces.

K10 million has been spent on the exercise since it was detected last year in Jiwaka, Asaro, Goroka and Unggai-Bena in the Eastern Highlands province. They remained contained in these areas.

Two roadblocks have been set up and remain at the border of Chimbu and Jiwaka and Eastern Highlands province, to stop the spread of CBB. 

Major awareness on CBB pest

The awareness will be conducted throughout the week in Eastern Highlands and Jiwaka Province as per a directive from Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Benny Allan.

CIC CEO, Charles Dambui, said awareness is part of ongoing efforts carried out by his technical team to address the borer outbreak in coffee growing communities.

“Since the pest is a new pest in PNG, more awareness is required to ensure farmers understand the severity of the pest and its implication on their livelihoods.”

New measures dealing with CBB

The total area of coffee infested with the pest in EHP is estimated to be around 380 hectares with only 71.9 hectares rehabilitated to date.

The new approach is the stumping of coffee trees led by the Coffee Industry Corporation Limited.

Containment and eradication teams were engaged in infested gardens to carry out pruning, cherry stripping, and chemical spray and weed control.

The pruned stems and branches were burnt while stripped cherries were buried. In Jiwaka especially in the Minj area, the CIC interventions have resulted in containing the pest.

CBB infestation increasing

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.

CIC calls on farmers for support

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.

CBB fight facing funding issues

As continued efforts are being made into the fourteenth week of operations, the organisations are afraid that it will not be long until both run low on funds in the next two weeks.

This concern was raised on Wednesday, May 17th, during the first National Emergency Response Committee (NERC) meeting in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province.