27 Apr 2009

Bougainville on guard to stop PNG cocoa pest

9:07 am on 27 April 2009

Officials in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville have stepped up measures to prevent an infectious cocoa pest from entering the province.

Residents are being warned to take care not to bring the cocoa pod borer to the island after the insect caused extensive damage to the cocoa industry in East New Britain.

The Executive Manager of the Cocoa and Coconut Research Institute, Dr Samson Laup, says Bougainville is the country's second largest producer of cocoa and it could be disastrous if the insect is introduced to the area.

He says other countries have given province insight on how to stop the pest.

"On the issue of management, technology has been formulated with the inclusions of ideas and all the practices that have been adopted in Indonesia and also in Malaysia and with other practices that are now being formulated in the country that suited the country."

Dr Samson Laup says tougher quarantine measures are in place, including a stop to foreign cocoa plants entering Bougainville.