Borer hits East Sepik

Momase, Normal

The National, Thursday October 31st, 2013

 THE cocoa pod borer is again affecting farms in Mambe Ring, Turubu local level government, in East Sepik.

The borer was first identified in 2009 but people could not easily identify it.

Four years later, it is damaging blocks of cocoa trees, thus, affecting production by local farmers and fermentary owners.

Ward 15 councillor Ps Joseph Taiyo said this week nearly all cocoa farmers in his ward were being affected, resulting in a decrease in production.

Taiyo said cocoa was the main source of income for the people.

He said farmers early this year lodged complaints with authorities in the province about the problem. But nothing has been done about it.

“The only answer we get from the provincial division of agriculture and the Cocoa Board is there are no funds available for trips to monitor and assess the situation,” Taiyo said.

East Sepik is the second largest producer of cocoa in the country and he said this could easily affect the quantity and quality of cocoa produced annually.

Abdul Maifo, a cocoa fermentary owner of Mambe village, said the ward had 14 cocoa fermentaries and used to produce between 10 and 15 bags of dried cocoa beans. This, however, has decreased to between three to five bags.

Maifo said yesterday they suspected the pod borer was introduced into the village after a logging company started operating in their ward area.

People in Ward 15 of Turubu LLG are calling on the authorities to find a solution to the problem because their livelihoods are being affected.