17 Oct 2006

Slugs threaten farming on CNMI's Rota island

2:30 pm on 17 October 2006

An agriculture consultant in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas says he fears the slug problem on Rota threatens to destroy its agriculture industry.

Isidoro Cabrera says the territory is spending up to one million US dollars in federal funds to control the slug, Veronicella Cubensis, which for now remains isolated on Rota.

But he says there are fears it will spread to the islands of Saipan and Tinian.

"We are really worried that this slug will penetrate these two islands and destroy our agriculture economy and right now we're working hard with scientists and other experts to assist Rota to try to reduce the population or control it."

Isidoro Cabrera says the pest is affecting farmers export crops of sweet potato and taro.