An improved coffee borer beetle trap developed by the Council of Agriculture Tea Research and Extension Station could aid coffee growers in Nantou County’s Guosing Township (國姓).
The township is the largest coffee bean production area in the nation, with more than 200 hectares under cultivation.
Climate change has fueled northward migration of the beetles, which had previously remained largely in southern Taiwan, and the change is cutting into township residents’ profit margins.
Photo: Tung Chen-kuo, Taipei Times
More than 30 percent of coffee plants in the township are affected, the station said on Tuesday.
Fruit and raw beans eaten by the beetles create not only a net loss, but incur additional expenses as extra workers are needed clear the infected plants, the station said.
As the township has recently applied for product quality certification, locally produced coffee is subject to scrutiny and could not exceed a certain level of residual pesticide, the township said.
The station said its new version of the bug trap is cheaper than commercial models, as it has transferred the technology to producers, and is 20 percent more effective as the methanol and ethanol baits have been fine-tuned.
One fen (分) of land (969.92m2) could sustain between 120 and 150 coffee trees, and would need about 40 to 50 traps, station researcher Liu Chien-ju (劉千如) said.
Farmers could adjust the density of the traps depending on the amount of damage the beetles are causing to their crops, Liu said.
The township office yesterday said that it has set aside a NT$200,000 fund to subsidize 10 traps per farmer.
It urged farmers to collaborate on pest control to achieve the maximum effect.
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