Islands see possible end to nutty problem


Neighbouring countries often engage in banning each other’s produce to protect their own farming economies. We have see this happen with apples, where Australia only recently lifted a decades long ban on the import of the much sought after New Zealand apple.<!--more-->

A similar ban on betel nut importation has been at play for several years between the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI) and Guam in the western Pacific. Officials of both countries indicated this week that the ban might after all be lifted shortly.

As of now the CNMI cannot ship its betel nut produce to Guam and vice versa. This is because of a ban that was introduced years ago following what is known as the bud rot disease, a fungal affliction, that affected the plants.

Local cargo airline Arctic Circle Air is readying its services to get at least a couple of flights between the destinations three to four times a week ferrying the nuts starting early March in anticipation of the ban being lifted.