Public Action Required to Fight the CRB

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RECENTLY a 2019 Baseline Survey was conducted examining the communication campaign on Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle, a survey funded by the Australian Government program Strongim Bisnis.

The outcomes of the report demonstrated a need for a dramatic community behavioural change to assist with self-management of the infestation on their properties.

The survey also highlighted the need for a heightened awareness campaign from Biosecurity Solomon Islands, including providing information on how households and farmers can best manage the containment of CRB in their coconuts palms and plantations.

A significant finding from the survey was that only four respondents were aware that the Solomon Islands Government, under the mandate the Biosecurity Act 2013, had activated the National Emergency Declaration Act for the CRB incursion. This finding highlights the immediate need for an increased and urgent community awareness about the seriousness of the CRB incursion.

The Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Ethel Tebengi Frances, commented recently on an hour-long SIBC program that the CRB incursion has the potential to cause AUD$150 million worth of damage to the coconut and palm oil industries by 2020 if uncontrolled.

Max Kolubalona and Pamela George Inspecting coconut logs West of Honiara city.

Biosecurity Solomon Island (BSI) is, therefore, pleading with the community to take greater action to manage the clean-up of their own coconut palms and plantations to contain the spread of CRB, including out in the provinces beyond Guadalcanal. Also, to fully cooperate with Biosecurity Solomon Island chainsaw operators and clean-up crews currently working throughout the Honiara town boundaries to cut down and remove the dead and infested palms, and to remove rotting and infested logs from residential areas.

The Director of BSI, Frances Tsatsia, said “The community is being urged to assist BSI by taking action and removing dead, rotting or infested coconut palms on their properties, and do the clean-up and burn themselves, and not only wait and rely on the BSI crews to move through their community”.

Source: Bio-security Solomon Islands Communications

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Lynda Wate
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