Coffee farmers told to stay calm


THE coffee berry borer has been seen in less than one per cent of the coffee growing areas in the country, according to Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC).
CIC principal entomologist Dr Nelson Simbiken (pictured) told coffee stakeholders in a meeting in Morobe last Wednesday that recent survey reports confirmed that the pest had been seen in less than one per cent of total coffee growing areas – around less than 200 hectares.
“At this point in time, we are advising the industry and all concerned not to panic but to work together with CIC and partners on measures being undertaken,” he said.
He said the borer could move from one country to another through infected coffee – that is, unprocessed coffee which includes cherry and parchment.
Simbiken said coffees processed to green bean with moisture content less than 12 per cent would only be allowed through checkpoints put up at two locations – at Koronigl in Chimbu and the Lufa-Okapa junction in Eastern Highlands.
Simbiken said the only way of detecting the borer was to check the coffee beans with holes at the apex end.
“The pest cannot be seen with the naked eye. So the only way to identify is to check holes made at the tip of the bean.”
CIC is currently carrying out the rehabilitation of coffee gardens, spot eradication of isolated areas, spraying of highly infested areas with insecticide and restricting the movement of coffee from restricted areas into clean areas.
Simbiken said support from partners in Indonesia and Cabi BioScience (UK) gave the CIC confidence that the borer could be managed and controlled.

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