The National Government earlier this month declared the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle an emergency pest.

The Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) applauds and joins the national government in declaring the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle an emergency pest.

SICCI CEO Dennis Meone said the foreign beetles pose a grave threat to the coconut and oil palm sectors as it is evident farmers and businesses in these sectors are already feeling the damage.

The Chamber as a member of the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Committee (CRBC) has been advocating the urgency to address eradication of the beetles since last year.

Coconut and oil palm are critical resources for the Solomon Islands economy – both commercially and at a subsistence level. Many farmers and families rely on these commodities for employment, income generation and basic survival.

The CRBC believes the beetles have made their spread as far as five provinces including reported areas around Honiara and Guadalcanal. 

The country faces a national crisis if eradication of the beetles continues at a slow pace, the committee concluded in its last meeting.

“It’s a relief that our government has taken the positive step in making this a national emergency issue and we urge all stakeholders including the Government, businesses and NGOs in the Private Sector to work together to boost the eradication process,” said Mr. Meone.

Guadalcanal Plains Palm Oil Limited (GPPOL), the country’s largest palm oil producer and employer of over 1,400 Solomon Islanders, face the imminent threat of production loss after the beetles were discovered in their fields last year. At present the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle is affecting their younger oil palm trees, and if it continues production is likely to be severely affected in the coming years.    

The beetles were initially found harboured on coconut trees. First reported sightings were in 2012. It has since spread further into Guadalcanal as far west as Visale in Northwest Guadalcanal and oil palms at GPPOL in Northeast Guadalcanal.

SICCI is represented at the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Committee (CRBC) by its Export Industry Development Officer (EIDO) who works in collaboration with the Coconut Industry Working Group and Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) program.

The Chamber recently recruited a new EIDO, John Paul Alasia, who can be contacted on phone 39542/39543 or email eido@solomonchamber.com.sb

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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