Coffee Berry Borer Affecting Farmers


Advisory Services Manager at the Coffee Industry Board, Louis Campbell has said that the resurgence of the Coffee Berry Borer pest was due to the failure of farmers to carry out field sanitation practices. According to Mr. Campbell, after the onslaught of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, there was a drop in the infestation rate the following year, because there was no host material for the pest to survive in, after the destruction of the berries.
He said that as a result of the reduction in infestation, farmers assumed that the condition would have remained the same for the 2006/07 crops, “so they did not carry out the required practices that they had been doing prior to the hurricane.”
Mr. Campbell informed that to prevent transfer of the pest from one crop to the next, the Board had introduced a coffee berry borer trap, which when placed on farms at the appropriate time, would trap insects and hence eradicate them.
Additionally, he said farmers were also trained in conducting field sanitation, where all berries were removed and then burnt or buried.
The effect of the infestation on the industry will see a reduction of the higher grade coffee beans for export and will undoubtedly affect revenue to the sector.
“You will not be able to export a ‘Grade A’ bean even if the beans are of the correct colour, size and taste. As long as they are damaged, the beans will have to be down-graded to a much lower quality, hence, a reduced price on the world market,” he pointed out.To address the recent resurgence of the pest in the sector, the Advisory Services Manager revealed that Agronomists and Extension Officers from the different purchasing companies were undergoing continuous training.
“We have produced brochures and newsletters and we are also in the field trying to encourage the farmers to carry out field sanitization practices and also to spray the coffee against the pest at the appropriate time,” he added.
To ascertain if the pest is present on a farm, farmers are encouraged to conduct a check of their property and once the pest is identified, then spraying is recommended.
Since 1978, the country’s coffee industry has been dealing with the coffee berry borer, a highly volatile insect that attacks the prized coffee berries. Since then, the Board, marketing companies and farmers have been working together to eradicate the pest.

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