7 Apr 2006

PNG authorities battle pod borer to save cocoa plants

4:50 pm on 7 April 2006

Authorities in Papua New Guinea and the autonomous province of Bougainville have joined forces to fight the newly discovered cocoa disease called pod borer.

The East New Britain Province has been placed under an agricultural quarantine.

The Province is one of the leading cocoa producers in the country with an estimated 34,000 hectares of cocoa containing up to 17 million trees.

Our Correspondent in Papua New Guinea, Alex Rheeney, says a number of measures have been put in place to fight the disease.

"A response unit has been set up - which it draws its membership from the National Agriculture Research Institute, the PNG Coconut and Cocoa Institute and the National Quarantine Inspection agency. So it's hoped that this response unit will be able to put in place these effective mechanisms to control the disease and stop it from spreading to other cocoa producing provinces here in Papua New Guinea."

Our Correspondent in Papua New Guinea, Alex Rheeney.