PNG yet to determine spread of new coffee pest

7:58 pm on 20 March 2017

Authorities in Papua New Guinea are scrambling to determine how far coffee borer beetle has spread across the country.

Coffee beans damaged by the bark beetle.

Coffee beans damaged by the bark beetle. Photo: Supplied

Native to Africa, the beetle is considered one of the most harmful coffee crop pests in the world.

The Ministry of Agriculture said 80 percent of PNG's coffee production could be lost if the threat from the beetle is not dealt with.

The PNG Coffee Industry Corporation's Mark Kenny said the beetle's re-emergence was a very serious threat.

Mr Kenny said a survey was being carried out to determine the extent of the beetle's spread, which would determine what action authorities would take.

"And the first option would be to look at the possibility of eradication.If we cannot do it then we look at how we can contain it in the area that it has occurred. But if the pest has already spread out of the area of incursion and it covered a lot of areas of coffee growing area then we look at ways to manage it instead of trying to contain it within that local area."