Coffee borer beetle could wipe out 80 percent of PNG coffee

9:50 am on 17 March 2017

A re-emergence of the coffee borer beetle in Papua New Guinea could wipe out 80 percent of coffee production in the country according to the PNG government.

The beetle is endemic to Central Africa and among the most damaging insects in the world.

The general manager for research and growers services in the PNG Coffee Industry Corporation, Mark Kenny said it first appeared in 2009 in remote regions but was successfully eradicated.

Dr Kenny said this time however it has appeared at Banz in Jiwaka which was at the heart of PNG's Highlands coffee growing region.

He said it was a very serious situation for an industry that supports much of the PNG population and brings in on average more than $US150 million in revenue each year.

"If this pest cannot be contained and managed properly then we stand to lose up to 80 percent of the coffee production."

"So that is a massive loss that we will experience if we do not take corrective measures that will minimise the impact on our production."

Mark Kenny said a delimiting survey was being undertaken to determine the extent to which the pest has spread which will determine whether authorities will attempt to eradicate, contain or manage the problem.

He said there are also stricter rules in place around the transporting of plant materials in and around the country.

CIC Extension Manager Matei Labun inspecting a coffee tree in a hot spot area where the pest was identified in Banz, Jiwaka Province.

CIC Extension Manager Matei Labun inspects a coffee tree in Banz, Jiwaka Province. Photo: supplied