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Pest infestation leads to short supply of coconut, plantains

Currently there is a short supply of coconuts and plantains on the local market as a result of an infestation by pests in the local farming communities.

Areas that predominantly produce coconuts and plantains such as Pomeroon and the Wakenaam Islands have reported an infestation of West Palm Mite and Black Sigatoka.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Agricultural Extension Research Institute (NAREI), Dr Oudhu Homenauth in an interview with Demerara Waves confirmed that the infestation has led to the drop in supply of the two items.

As a result of that drop came an increase in the prices.

“I noticed that the prices gone up recently, it has to do with the dry weather. The bunches are getting smaller, the dry weather is having an impact right now,” said Homenauth adding that the situation is compounded by the presence of the pests.

He said that while the government through NAREI is attempting to exterminate the pests, the weather is proving to be a serious impediment.

“We are working with the chemical controllers and we will be supplying chemicals to the farmers and ensuring that they apply the chemicals. We are looking at biological control,” said Dr Homenauth.

He explained that NAREI has been provided with some $49M to address the issue and it is expected to get the job done.