The officers of the Agriculture Department are working against the clock to eradicate the spread of Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) on Efate. But the assistance is needed for community to back up the agriculture officers.
The Biosecurity Office told VBTC today during a panel discussion Tok Bak Show that work to eradicate the spread of CRB is underway and they need the support of more than one hundred people. The community of Mangaliliu where CRB was discovered is already working with biosecurity officers and they contacted the surrounding villages to help.
“But we need fund to support these villagers. We already submit papers for Council of Ministers’ approval for financial assistance as this CRB is becoming a disaster,” said a female officer.
She said when they decided to deploy villagers, they have planned to contact MP Jerry Kanas for assistance but when they heard about his passing, the plan has changed.
“We want to mobilize people to speed the eradication of CRB but we must have something to give to them to motivate them,” said the Biosecurity officer.
Another officer told VBTC that the lack of high performance equipment remains the big challenge for them to carry out their duties professionally.
The Biosecurity Office has reported recently an outbreak of CRB, a rare type of beetle that has been found on Efate and could pose a threat to coconut trees and coconut plantations. This rare Pacific beetle was also found in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
Five thousand households in the SHEFA Province could be affected if communities and villages around Efate do not take proactive measures to help the Department of Agriculture eradicate the spread of Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle.