GPPOL General Manager Craig Gibsone (right) with the SICCI CEO (left) and KPSI Managing Director Bob Pollard (centre) at the field trip to GPPOL.

The Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Limited (GPPOL) with the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) and Kokonut Pacific Solomon Islands (KPSI), will host a field trip today in efforts to boost up the fight against the alarming spread of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle.

Stakeholders from the government and different sectors will join a tour at GPPOL’S Ngalimbiu Plantation and KPSI's operations at Henderson in a first-hand demonstration of the damaging effects of the Rhinoceros Beetle.

The tour will include delegates and representatives from businesses, government, donor partners and civil society organizations. The purpose of the industry led initiative is to raise the profile of the current and potential impact of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle on the Oil Palm and Coconut Industries.

The field day will also provide an avenue for the dissemination of accurate information through the media to the public regarding this pest, including making a united stand for collaborative action to combat the beetle.

Agriculture is considered the backbone of the country's export revenue with almost 40,000 metric tonnes of palm oil valued at SBD$250 million exported by GPPOL in 2016. Similarly, in 2016 Solomon Islands exported 16,057 metric tonnes of copra valued at SBD$88 million.

"These two export industries are massive contributors to our economy and with the threat of the beetle the future of these industries hangs in the balance” said SICCI CEO Dennis Meone.

"Eighty percent of the rural people who are directly involved in coconut production will be affected, their livelihood will be affected so as their economic contribution."

“Imagine the effects it will have on farmers, families and communities that depend on coconut and palm oil to meet their basic needs and livelihood” the CEO added.

The Rhinoceros Beetle has spread as far as GPPOL in North East Guadalcanal, North West Guadalcanal, Malaita and Central Islands.

The beetle is a growing threat to the Coconut and Oil palm industry and has the potential to destroy and seriously hinder both industries if no action is taken.  

SICCI understands that the Ministry of Agriculture is working on measures to counter the beetle outbreak, but it has been slow and with needed assistance to make meaningful progress including involvement of the private sector.

About the author

Ernest Ta’asi is the Chamber's Media & Communications Officer. Ernest writes most of the Chamber's media releases. He also manages the website contents, designs the Chamber's monthly newsletter, brochures and maintains the organisation's visual branding. 

Ernest can be contacted on email: media@solomonchamber.com.sb 

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