6 Sep 2010

Palms in PNG capital struggling to cope with beetle attack

10:47 am on 6 September 2010

The managing director of Papua New Guinea's Coconut Industry Corporation says a beetle that thrives in sawdust and rubbish is still affecting all of the capital's ornamental coconut palms.

Tore Ovasuru says a biological agent released last year to control the rhinoceros beetle population wasn't as successful as expected so it's been released again this year.

He says although so far the beetles have only affected trees in the capital, it's imperative that PNG's 106 million US dollar coconut industry is protected from the insects.

"Normally what happens it defoliates and then once the population reduces the palm grows back to normal again. So what we need to do now is to try and reduce the population of the beetles or eradicate it as much as possible so that we can give the chance for the palms to grow."

Tove Ovasuru says a major problem with PNG's palm trees is that they are old and need replacing.