The Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Bio-Security (MALFFB), Matai Seremiah, led a delegation to Mangalilu village at north Efate recently where he was briefed on the extent of the damage caused by Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB).

Mangalilu is one of the affected areas.

Minister Seremaiah was accompanied by the Director General (DG) and directors of the MALFFB, staff from the Department of Biosecurity and the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) on his visit.

During the visit, Minister Seremiah was also informed on the progress of activities carried out in the breeding sites so far to eradicate the new threat attacking coconut palms from Mangaliliu to Gideon’s Landing.

A statement from the MALFFB stated that the minister was relieved to be informed that there is still hope to destroy CRB and has urged community leaders to work closely with the staff of the Department of Biosecurity and volunteers deployed on sites to fight the beetle.

Minister Seremiah stressed that information is very vital at this stage and must be disseminated to the public at large to warn them of the danger that the beetle can pose to the future of Vanuatu’s coconut industry.

“The future of the coconut industry of Vanuatu lies on everyone’s shoulder.

“We can talk about copra, EDF 11 funding, but all these cannot become a dream if we don’t mobilize ourselves and work together as a team to combat and eradicate CRB,” he said in the statement.

While the Council of Ministers (COM) has agreed to release funds for the eradication of CRB, Minister Seremiah urged the public, especially affected communities in north Efate to make this eradication their business and do all they can to help reduce the spread of this pest.

The Minister thanked the Biosecurity staff, the deployed teams on the ground and all members of the communities of Mangaliliu and other affected areas for all their efforts so far to help control and eradicate CRB.

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