Official highlights gravity of berry borer threat

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THE Coffee Berry Borer is a serious pest that can destroy the country’s multi-million kina coffee industry, a key industry player says.
Wia Trade Enterprise Coffee managing director Dr Joel Waramboi said borer “is a tiny black beetle that is less than five milimetres long. The larvae are small and all its life stages are completed inside the cherry. It feeds inside the coffee cherry eating out the flesh and leaves exit holes”.
He was speaking as his organisation held a awareness workshop with Kasuka Co-operative Society farmers at Kalebo village in Nawaeb.
While PNG produces only one per cent of the total world coffee production it is estimated that 2.5 million Papua New Guineans rely on coffee as their main source of income with coffee providing the country nearly K1 billion in export revenue a year, according to Business Advantage PNG.
The key coffee-producing provinces are Western Highlands and Eastern Highlands, which between them account for more than 80 per cent of production.
Goroka, in Eastern Highlands, is the major commercial centre for coffee, and the headquarters of several of the larger coffee exporters and the Coffee Industry Corporation.
Waramboi said: “We conducted the awareness as part of the project on integrated pest management to educate farmers so that they are aware of the signs and symptoms, effects of damages and how to minimise the incidence of the pest.”
Waramboi said coffee farmers should manage the pest by ensuring proper drainage, proper shade management, pruning and weed control, and they should remove coffee cherries from infected trees and destroy them.
He warned that the borer may cause a devastating drop in coffee quantity and quality and affect PNG’s coffee exports and people’s livelihoods. Wia Trade Enterprise is a leading partner in Productive Partnership in Agriculture Project funded by the World Bank, International Fund for Agriculture Development and the Government through the Coffee Industry Corporation.

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