$49M approved to fight red palm mite infestation in coconut industry

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Matured coconuts are collected, dehusked and dried into copra to be sold as raw material for coconut oil. Photo by LA Villariba 053009

[www.inewsguyana.com] – Cabinet has approved the sum of $49 million to fight a red palm mite infestation currently affecting the coconut industry.

The money will be used to purchase chemicals, equipment, and safety gear and provided to farmers at a subsidised cost to combat this infestation, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said during a post-Cabinet media briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency.

Agriculture Minister Noel Holder had briefed Cabinet that the coconut industry which is basically coastal based in Regions 2, 3, 4 5, 6 and 10, has been affected, particularly Regions 2 and 3. Technical teams have been deployed to assist farmers to overcome the infestation.

The red palm mites form colonies on the underside of leaves and feed on the contents of the cells of the leaves. This feeding can cause localised yellowing of the leaves.

This species is indigenous to Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Mauritius, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Réunion, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates. It is considered an invasive species in the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Trinidad and Tobago, the US Virgin Islands, Granada, Haiti, Jamaica and Guyana.

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