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BAF clamps down on misinformation

October 31, 2018 10:01 pm

The Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) says they’re deeply concerned with misinformation being spread regarding promises of building concrete houses for those affected by the Asian Subterranean Termites (AST).

BAF Chief Executive Officer, Hillary Kumwenda says they are currently in the yearly AST swarming period event (August to November), hence the prevalence of swarms (flying termites) in the evenings.

He is urging the public not to fall prey to misinformation as the Government has equipped BAF with adequate resources for treatment, baiting and conducting diagnostics work.

Following the misinformation being dished out to the public, Kumwenda is stressing a word of caution to the unsuspecting to be weary of the fabricated information.

Fiji saw an outbreak of AST, scientifically known as Coptotermes gestroi, in late 2009 and early 2010 in Lautoka and Labasa.

It is an exotic pest, the second most destructive termite species in the world and feeds voraciously on timber and other wooden products.

Operation Kadivuka, a Biosecurity undertaking, was launched in 2010 to control and contain AST infestations. The operation involved about 150 personnel from various Government ministries and departments including the disciplined forces and officers from the National Fire Authority (NFA).

Due to the seriousness of AST infestation, Government in 2014 declared the matter as top priority and elevated it to the status of a biosecurity emergency situation.

Since then, Government has been making direct interventions through BAF by providing annual government grants to assist in the control and containment of AST within the declared zones with Operation Kadivuka being converted into the BAF AST Project.

In the last four (4) years, BAF has been allocated substantial resources for this program.

BAF, as the responsible body, has been working tirelessly in partnership with the communities and stakeholders to ensure all those affected received support through free survey, treatment and monitoring of their homes.