Solomon Islands quarantine officials say more border control is needed to prevent a potentially harmful cocoa pest from entering its borders.A group of quarantine officers have completed a pest surveillance operation in Choiseul Province and the Shortland Islands to look at potential threats on cocoa crops there.
While the team did not discover any existing pests, more effort is needed to guard against a pod borer moth. This moth has destroyed cocoa pods in Bougainville, a Province of Papua New Guinea that is only short boat ride from Shortlands, Solomon Islands.
"Quarantine has been publishing awareness materials and has been distributing that to quarantine officers in the Shortlands. Some awareness activity has been going on. We just need to intensify that and intensify the activity around the border now," says Dr John Konam from the AusAid funded Cocoa Livelihood Improvement Project. He says that cocoa production in Solomon Islands has potential to grow and generate good income for the country.
Strengthened Border Control is needed particularly after the discovery of giant African snails, a lethal crop killer in Honiara last year. The African giant snail feeds on more than 500 plant species and is proven to be one of the most destructive pests in the world.The snail was thought to have been discovered at Fox Wood in 2007.