A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
Interested in GIS?
Wednesday, October 16, 2002
Posted 5:42 PM by Luigi
I started working here in June. This is the update on PAPGREN activities I sent out in late July.
For those of you whom I haven’t yet met, my name is Luigi Guarino and I started work as SPC’s Plant Genetic Resources Adviser about 3 weeks ago. My task is to support the coordination of the Pacific Agricultural Plant Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN) - and the implementation of its Action Plan - established during the September 2001 meeting in Suva which most of you attended.
I hope you’ll agree that exchange of information is a vital function of a network, and I would therefore suggest that I send you updates on PAPGREN activities every month or so by email, this being the first. What do you think? Would that be useful? If you have any news that you’d like communicated to the other network members, you can just use “reply to all” on this email, or send it to me and I’ll collate the information and send it on to all members at the end of every month (or indeed more frequently if there’s a lot going on!).
Let me quickly summarize some of the things that have been going on over the past few weeks that are relevant to PAPGREN:
1. We’ve prepared a draft text for a public awareness pamphlet describing PAPGREN. I am attaching it here. I would be grateful for any comments you may have on this. We would like to include contact details for all member countries, so please let me know how you would like your country contact to appear.
2. We’ve also started to discuss with Tevita Kete, Tony Jansen and Rosa Kambuou the organization of the National PGR Stakeholder Workshops that are called for in the Action Plan. I am therefore also attaching a draft document setting out the objectives and strategy of such meetings. I would welcome comments on this too. We need to start thinking concretely about organizing these meetings, in order to get clear ideas of national priorities, capacities, and needs. We are in touch with FAO to see to what extent these workshops and other network activities could contribute to the process of monitoring implementation of the Global Plan of Action and revision of the State of the World’s PGR.
3. We’ve done some thinking about the PAPGREN web pages. Basically, the idea would be to have information by crop, but also country pages. These could contain brief summaries of the PGR situation in the country, for example information on collections maintained, in situ conservation activities etc. This is something that could be discussed further at the national workshops, but if you have any specific ideas or suggestion, do please send them to me.
4. I’ve started contacting genebanks around the world (national, regional and international) for information on their holdings of germplasm from the Pacific countries. I’ve had a number of replies, for example from INIBAP, AVRDC and the US germplasm system, and hope to put the information together very soon for you to have a look at. Maybe I could also mention in this connection that just before coming to SPC I also spent some time at INIBAP participating in a GIS workshop during which we did some spatial analysis of data on PNG material in the Musa Germplasm Information System.
5. I’ve started assembling a bibliography and list of Internet references on PGR conservation in the Pacific. This is still fairly raw at the moment but contains citations to over 300 references for the period 1989-2001. I still need to organize it in an easy-to-use way. Would it be useful to do something similar at the national level for gray literature?
6. Those of you who were also at the regional on-farm meeting in Suva in May, held just before the TaroGen annual meeting, will have received a brief summary of the deliberations, prepared by Mary Taylor and myself. I’ll attach it here again just in case. I’m working on a project concept note based on the meeting discussions, which will hopefully include linkages with initiatives such as Kastom Gaden Association’s Farmer First project, on which we’ve been exchanging correspondence over the past couple of weeks with Tony Jansen and Grahame Jackson.
7. We’ve been in touch with Michael Halewood, who is the policy specialist at IPGRI in Rome, in connection with a possible study about the flow of PGR between the network participating countries, and in and out of the region generally, as a complement to the review paper that is also being prepared by a regional policy expert. This is still in the early stages so I’ll keep you posted on how things develop.
8. Discussions have continued with regard to the Biodiversity and Conservation course at the University of the South Pacific. SPC staff will provide training sessions in conservation and use of agro-biodiversity when the course starts in the next semester.
9. We’ve had visits from Siosiua Halavatau, Chief of Extension in Tonga, and a UPOV fact-finding mission to Fiji.
10. The 11th COGENT steering committee meeting has just been held in Bangkok, Thailand. As far as PGR goes, the action plan agreed at the meeting included continuing the movement of accession to the International Coconut Genebank, increasing submissions on characterization for the Coconut Genetic Resources Database, and development of a regional germplasm catalogue with photos.
I think that’s about it for now from my side. But what’s been happening at your end? Do let us know so that we can share it within our network and build up our knowledge of each other’s activities and of what’s happening in PGR in the region as a whole.
Please do get in touch if you think any of the people working on PGR issues here at SPC can assist your national programme in any way. I look forward to hearing from all of you.
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