A TEAM is on Gau Island this week to create awareness of the taro beetle and an integrated pest management process using a combination of pesticide, biological control and cultural measures to control the bug.
It comprises officers from the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) and Ministry of Primary Industries.
The island in Lomaiviti province is the latest confirmed taro beetle-infested area in Fiji.
BAF acting chief executive officer Waisiki Gonemaituba said the beetle was a serious concern because it was the single biggest threat to Fiji's multi-million dollar taro industry.
He said the awareness campaign would control the spread of the beetle to non-infested areas.
"Fiji is currently the major exporter of taro in the Pacific with exports valued at more than $20 million annually," he said.
"However, our taro exports are threatened by taro beetles as they tunnel inside the taro corms reducing its eating quality and market value. As such our taro damaged by beetles cannot be exported.
"We have to protect our taro industry and control the spread of taro beetle. Most importantly stop it from spreading to non-infested areas like Taveuni, Kadavu and Koro which are the major export suppliers.
"BAF has a comprehensive program for the taro beetle in 2013 starting with Gau Island which we will be visiting every quarter including other taro beetle-infested areas such as Buca Bay and Ovalau."
The team will visit Nacavanadi, Navukailagi and Lovu villages on Gau.