7 Jun 2010

Fiji Minister says termites so far no danger to crops

10:13 am on 7 June 2010

Fiji's Minister of Primary Industries, Joe Cokanasiga, says termites that've infested schools and hundreds of houses in the outer areas of Lautoka is not considered at this stage a threat to crops.

The infestation by a sub species of termite found in Australia and Asia but new to Fiji has spread to about 560 houses and 16 schools in the hillier areas of the country's second biggest city.

Joe Cokanasiga says the infestation will be controlled using a combination of a biological agent being developed and a poison expected to arrive from Australia this week.

Farmers have expressed concerns about the potential for crop infestation but Mr Cokanasiga says there's no sign the termites have moved to crops.

"We did have an incident where a cassava, a tapioca plant, was riddled with termite but we've not had any further occurrence of that and we're having to monitor that very carefully to ensure that...we hope that this is only an isolated case. So far there has not been any other reports of termite infestations on any other crops."