DAVID KASEI WAPAR
MADANG - The Tapo police and quarantine checkpoint in Madang Province has been relocated to Mano, 12 twelve kilometers away, with the construction of a new bridge to replace the well-known crossing.
The checkpoint is an important facility which assists the National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority, the Kokonas Indastri Koporesen (KIK), police and other organisations to monitor disease and pest control and illicit activities.
KIK embarked on the relocation as it expands its biosecurity plans to curb the spread of the Bogia Coconut Syndrome and the most recent incursion of the Guam type coconut rhinoceros beetle detected in Kananam near Madang in 2018.
The beetle poses yet another threat to the coconut and oil palm industries.
“It is important that all stakeholders are informed of this project as the checkpoint is a shared responsibility,” said Alfred Kembu, the head of KIK’s Madang-based Stewart Research Station.
“The checkpoint has been an ongoing operation since the initial detection of Bogia Coconut Syndrome but it was suspended temporarily because of the bridge construction.”
The checkpoint is funded by the PNG government to curtail further spread of disease to neighbouring provinces. The checkpoint hosts amenities like offices and staff houses.
Alex Isogu, spokesman for the Ului clan of Mano, expressed his people’s gratitude for KIK’s consideration of their land as suitable for such an important project.
“My family and clan members are happy with the payment,” he said.
“But moreso we’re looking forward to the long term benefits the new checkpoint will bring.”
Apart from cocoa production, the villagers say they will use this opportunity to enhance the small and medium business activities for greater economic returns.