4 May 2011

Solomon Islands quarantine officials urge prevention against cocoa pest

5:49 pm on 4 May 2011

Quarantine officials in Solomon Islands say more border control is needed to prevent a potentially harmful cocoa pest from entering its borders.

A group of quarantine officers have completed a pest surveillance operation in Choiseul Province and the Shortland Islands to look at potential threats on cocoa crops there.

Dr John Konam from the AusAid funded Cocoa Livelihood Improvement Project, says while the team did not discover any existing pests, more effort is needed to guard against a pod borer moth, which is destroying cocoa pods in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville.

"Quarantine has been publishing awareness materials and has been distributing that to quarantine officers in the Shortlands. Some awareness activity has been going on. We just need to intensify that and intensify the activity around the border now."

Dr John Konam says cocoa production in Solomon Islands has potential to grow and generate good income for the country.