A man from East-Central Guadalcanal is concerned, the invasive Giant African Snail has infested their crop production.
Daniel Seka says local farmers from Guadalcanal plains experience low crop yielding due to the invasive snails.
“Now it has affected food production. I’ve learned that at the GPPOL – being the main source of vegetables for Honiara town and where the snails are now – are now experiencing a drop in their production because of this insect and I would like to raise concerns as to whether the Quarantine department within the Ministry of Agriculture is still functioning in its roles to control this pest. I believe the existence of that Ministry, one of its roles is to control pests from coming into the country.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Seka also expressed similar concerns over the spread of the coconut Rhinoceros beetle, warning the coconut industry is at risk.
“You know, once it spreads throughout the whole country, our coconut production which is one of our main foreign earnings will also be affected.”
Meanwhile, Solomon Islands Biosecurity Officer, Crispas Fanai says it is everyone’s responsibility to contain these invasive pests in the country.
He says they are currently monitoring the movement of heavy machinery from infested sites in Honiara to the provinces.
“Mainly we have been monitoring the movement of heavy machinery from Ranadi or I would say the logging machines moving out to the provinces which are highly likely to carry the snail. Other things like vehicles moving to the provinces, we expect that those members of the public report to us whenever they want to move them so that they can be checked by a quarantine officer before moving them.”
Mr. Fanai adds, with cooperation these pests can be contained.
“So if everybody can cooperate then we can still contain these pests within their current locations, but if we see this only as the Ministry’s responsibility then we will continue to spread these pests.
The other thing is that the Ministry will not stop the fight against these pests although there are stories coming out in the media that we are fighting a losing battle, but we will still continue until we have something in place to reduce or make sure that the population is in balance with what we have.”