Destructive pest threatens PNG's coffee crop

Destructive pest threatens PNG's coffee crop

Destructive pest threatens PNG's coffee crop

Updated 30 May 2014, 9:00 AEST

The berry borer pest is threatening to destroy the majority of Papua New Guinea's coffee crop.

Coffee growers in Papua New Guinea fear the arrival of the berry borer pest could have a devastating impact on the industry.

The pest is reportedly just 20 kilometres from PNG's border with Indonesia and has the potential to destroy the majority of coffee crops.

Known locally as the poor man's crop, coffee is an important commodity in PNG, providing cash for up to 40 per cent of residents.

80 per cent of the country's coffee is grown by small holders, who could suffer huge financial losses with the pest makes its way into the country.

"Coffee berry borer has the reputation of being the most deadly coffee pest in the whole world," said Tom Kukhang from PNG's Coffee Industry Corporation

"Without any countermeasures, it is able to destroy up to 70 per cent of the crop."

Mr Kukhang told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program countries that have berry borer beetle need to invest in extra resources to deal with the deadly pest.

"It's extra work - spraying or using pesticides to control," he said.

"It is very expensive and we'd like to keep our competitive edge as a coffee producer without coffee berry borer"

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research is supporting a research program into the pest.

Within PNG, the nation's quarantine organisation NAQIA is mandated to prevent pests such as berry borer from entering the country.

NAQIA and Coffee Industry Corporation are working together to provide surveillance in border areas and major ports.