CBB expert in PNG to consult on deadly pest

A coffee berry borer (CBB) expert is already in the country to consult on how best to manage the deadly pest.

Dr Juan F. Barrera (PhD), who has 35 years’ experience in holistic pest management including CBB in Mexico and other Central American countries, met with the chief executive officer of Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC), Charles Dambui, and two general managers in Goroka on August 6th.

Dr Barrera will have consultations with the CBB team, a focus group which will comprise selective industry stakeholders and leading farmers and advise on options for short and long term management of the pest.

He will also visit affected coffee gardens and blocks in Jiwaka and Eastern Highlands provinces to see firsthand the infestation level and eradication and containment efforts that have been undertaken by the local CBB team.

The pest was discovered in Banz District of Jiwaka in February 2017 and months later, was identified in some gardens in Asaro, Bena and Goroka in EHP.

Dr Barrerra will also visit Bundi area of Madang Province following recent reports of CBB presence in some coffee gardens.

The CEO of CIC welcomed Dr Barrerra to Goroka and advised respective divisions and CBB team to provide necessary information to help him put together a plan in his 30-day assignment.

Dambui also thanked PPAP coffee manager, Potaisa Hombunaka and team, for facilitating recruitment of the CBB expert.

Dr Barrerra’s engagement was made possible by CIC-PPAP to provide a 30-day consultancy service on how best to control and management CBB infestation in the affected areas.

“We have started some work already with CBB on the ground but your expert advice will really help us in our effort against CBB,” said Dambui.

Some of Dr Barrerra’s key tasks and responsibilities are:

  • To review current CIC actions on CBB and provide options to eradicate and/or containment of the pest;
  • To convene a focus group to obtain CBB management information; and
  • To analyse the impact of CBB on coffee production, quality and its market implications.

Project manager of CIC-PPAP said PNG is the second last coffee producing country to have CBB and our approach must be realistic.

“The CBB is here to stay. What we should focus on is how best we can manage and live with it like HIV/AIDS,” said Hombunaka.

(CBB expert Dr Juan J. Barrera, seated second from left in the front row, with senior senior officers including CEO Charles Dambui, Steven Tumae – GM Operations, Dr Mark Kenny – GM Research and Extension and Potaisa Hombunana – CIC-PPAP manager)

Press release