CIC shuts offices to put more staff on borer war

Business

By ZACHERY PER
THE seven provincial offices of the Coffee Industry Corporation have been closed to allow officers to concentrate on the containment of the coffee berry borer.
According to the CIC’s second quarterly newsletter, its extension officers in Southern Highlands, Hela, Western Highlands, Jiwaka, Chimbu, Enga and Eastern Highlands had closed down their offices in February to allow officers to go out and address the problem.
Provincial extension coordinator Joe Alu who is leading the containment team in Jiwaka, said there was more work to do.
“A team of retired extension officers have been engaged and are training locals in Jiwaka to assist in the pruning, burning of infested trees and spraying of insecticide,” he said.
Alu said 150 kilogrammes of infested cherries already harvested had to be incinerated.
Corporation general manager Steven Tumae said while the CIC and the National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority (NAQIA) were still waiting for funding from the Government, the pest was spreading.
Kum Michael, a farmer in Banz, said she harvested four drums (about 60kgs) of cherry coffee and sold them to roadside buyers in Banz.
She received 44 per cent less income than what she would normally get.
“I did not realise my garden was already infected with CBB until told by the buyer and after witnessing it myself,” Michael said.
She said they were already noticing losses in their sales.
Chief executive officer Charles Dambui said farmers in the affected areas were beginning to feel the pain of losing their produce.

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