10 Jul 2019

Vanuatu MP wants more action on rhino beetle

12:47 pm on 10 July 2019

Vanuatu opposition MP, Jay Ngwele, wants a commission of inquiry to ascertain how the rhinoceros beetle arrived in the country.

Coconut rhinoceros beetle

Coconut rhinoceros beetle Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koro Vakauta

Mr Ngwele said it is likely a foreign company operating in north east Efate is responsible.

He is calling on the authorities to confirm the culprit and penalize the company, saying the beetle is having a field day destroying the coconut plantations and there is nothing done to stop its onslaught.

The Daily Post reported the director general of agriculture, Moses Amos, saying his office has neither the manpower nor the funds to fight the beetle.

The government has allocated $US447,000 to deal with the pest but Mr Ngele said this is not enough.

He said neighbouring Solomon Islands has given up hope of eradication and traditional coconut plantation farmers are diversifying into other areas, such as noni.