10 Feb 2015

Scientist urges pesticide over tradition to save taro

8:30 pm on 10 February 2015

A Papua New Guinea scientist says pesticides are urgently needed to fight the taro beetle especially with new threats posed by climate change.

The National Agriculture Research Institute's Cyril Atung says PNG has over eight-hundred local varieties and one thousand imported varieties of taro which need to be protected.

Mr Atung is in Vanuatu to attend a regional meeting on the crop and its sustainability.

He says many farmers are afraid to use chemicals to fight the beetle which has done millions of dollars of damage in the past and would rather use traditional time-consuming methods.

But Mr Atung says people need to be aware of modern technology.

"With this climate effect there is no way back, we have to adapt to any changes. We are emphasing the use of chemical control. Once climate change occurs, it will start to introduce other pests and diseases. It may also contribute to introducing another species of beetle so we are afraid of that and we are concerned."

The National Agriculture Research Institute's Cyril Atung.