CBB pest spreading in EHP

Over 70 coffee gardens in Eastern Highlands Province have been affected by the Coffee Berry Borer (CBB) pest.

According to a Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) update, a technical report has highlighted a gradual spread of the pest in the Province.

The report states that a garden representing a total land area of 186.7 hectares is infected. And this number is expected to increase once more information is made available.

So far, an estimated 10 percent of infected gardens have bee rehabilitated and the CIC anticipates completing the next 90 percent in the coming months.

CIC CEO, Charles Dambui, said a total of five teams are currently working in all affected gardens in the Asaro area, with the assistance of farmers and locals.

He added the identification of the level of infestation within infected sites had begun by the survey team with monitoring through trapping while sanitation of gardens is ongoing.

Manager Farmer Training & Extension, Matei Labun, said gardens infested with CBB are mainly smallholders (0-5ha), with a few block holders (6-20ha) and plantations (20ha and above).

He said the importance of awareness and training could not be stressed enough, as it is an important aspect in educating rural based farmers.

“Farmer education with the use of visual aids has raised the level of awareness, triggering concern by farmers and others who attended the awareness meetings carried out by the technical team in the last couple of months,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the CBB spread in Jiwaka Province has been static.

Dambui said: “A preliminary report is expected to be given soon by our technical team for rehabilitation work in Jiwaka Province.”

Funding remains a critical factor in the effort to keep the pest from spreading to other provinces.

Cedric Patjole