New Zealand is funding efforts to combat an invasive pest that has the potential to devastate livelihoods and threaten food security in the Pacific.

The Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) damages or kills coconut and oil palm trees, affecting the lives of those who depend on the industries for employment and income, as well as food and building materials.

If the beetle continues to spread it is estimated the Pacific could lose at least NZ$237 million per annum by 2040 as a result of damage to coconut trees alone.

New Zealand is contributing up to $18 million to support response efforts across the Pacific to reduce Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle populations and limit the spread of the beetle.

The funding will target efforts in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands to combat a new type of Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB-G) which is causing major damage to palms despite current control methods.

It will also support response efforts where an existing type of beetle (CRB-S), which has been managed in the Pacific for decades, has recently entered parts of the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

New Zealand will work with agriculture and biosecurity departments to safeguard the future resilience of the palm industries, an important source of economic activity across the Pacific.

Detecting and developing long-term solutions to the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle incursion will be undertaken in partnership with The Pacific Community (SPC) and AgResearch, along with local Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands partners, and other international partners.

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