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

  • CTA
  • SPC
  • CEPaCT

     genebank locations
    Click on the thumbnail to see a map of the locations of Pacific genebanks. Click here to download a regional directory of genebanks in the Pacific, including information on their location, contact details and holdings.

    PAPGREN partners

    Mr William Wigmore
    Director of Research
    Ministry of Agriculture
    Department of Resources & Development
    P.O. Box 96
    Cook Islands
    Tel: (682) 28711-29720
    Fax: (682) 21881
    Email: cimoa@oyster.net.ck

    Mr Adelino S. Lorens
    Agriculture Pohnpei
    Office of Economic Affairs
    P.O. Box 1028
    Pohnpei 96941
    Federated States of Micronesia
    Tel: (691) 3202400
    Fax: (691) 3202127
    Email: pniagriculture@mail.fm

    Dr Lois Englberger
    Island Food Community of Pohnpei
    Research Advisor
    P.O. Box 2299
    Pohnpei 96941
    Federated States of Micronesia
    Email: nutrition@mail.fm

    Mr Apisai Ucuboi
    Director of Research
    Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forest
    Koronivia Research Station
    P.O. Box 77
    Fiji Islands
    Tel: (679) 3477044
    Fax: (679) 3477546-400262
    Email: apisainu@yahoo.com

    Dr Maurice Wong
    Service du Developpement Rural
    B.P. 100
    Tahiti 98713
    French Polynesia
    Tel: (689) 42 81 44
    Fax: (689) 42 08 31
    Email: maurice.wong@rural.gov.pf

    Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
    Head, Research Section
    Division of Agriculture
    Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agricultural Development
    P.O. Box 267
    Tel: (686) 28096-28108-28080
    Fax: (686) 28121
    Email : agriculture@tskl.net.ki; Beenna_ti@yahoo.com

    Mr Frederick Muller
    Ministry of Resources & Development
    P.O. Box 1727
    Majuro 96960
    Marshall Islands
    Tel: (692) 6253206
    Fax: (692) 6257471
    Email: rndsec@ntamar.net

    Mr Herman Francisco
    Bureau of Agriculture
    Ministry of Resources & Development
    P.O. Box 460
    Koror 96940
    Tel: (680) 4881517
    Fax: (680) 4881725
    Email: bnrd@pnccwg.palaunet.com

    Ms Rosa Kambuou
    Principal Scientist PGR
    NARI Dry Lowlands Programme
    Laloki Agricultural Research Station
    P.O. Box 1828
    National Capital District
    Papua New Guinea
    Tel: (675) 3235511
    Fax: (675) 3234733
    Email: kambuou@global.net.pg

    Ms Laisene Samuelu
    Principal Crop Development Officer
    Crops Division
    Ministry of Agriculture, Forests, Fisheries & Meteorology
    P.O. Box 1874
    Tel: (685) 23416-20605
    Fax: (685) 20607-23996
    Email: lsamuelu@lesamoa.net

    Mr Jimi Saelea
    Director of Research
    Department of Agriculture and Livestock
    P.O. Box G13
    Solomon Islands
    Tel: (677) 27987

    Mr Tony Jansen
    Planting Materials Network
    Kastom Gaden Association
    Burns Creek, Honiara
    P.O. Box 742
    Solomon Islands
    Tel: (677) 39551
    Email: kastomgaden@solomon.com.sb

    Mr Finao Pole
    Head of Research
    Ministry of Agriculture & Forests
    P.O. Box 14
    Tel: (676) 23038
    Fax: (676) 24271
    Email: thaangana@hotmail.com

    Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
    Head of Research
    Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
    Private Mail Bag 040
    Port Vila
    Tel: (678) 22525
    Fax: (678) 25265
    Email: flehi@hotmail.com

    Other links

    Other CROP agencies
    Forum Secretariat
    University of the South Pacific

    Pacific biodiversity
    Biodiversity hotspots
    Breadfruit Institute
    Hawaiian native plants
    Intellectual property rights
    Nature Conservancy
    WWF South Pacific Program

    Other Pacific organizations
    Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific
    Micronesian Seminar
    Te Puna web directory

    Pacific news
    Cafe Pacific
    CocoNET Wireless
    Island Directory
    Pacific Islands News
    Pacific Islands Report
    Pacific Islands Travel
    Pacific Time
    South Pacific travel
    Time Pacific

    Interested in GIS?



    Thursday, May 29, 2003

    Cash crop news

    Two news items on Pacific Islands Report this morning dealing with cash crops in the region (Note: "nono" or "noni" is Morinda citrifolia):


    PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse: May 27) - A foundation stone was put in place on May 25 for the construction of a 1.4 billion French Pacific franc (US$14.3 million) factory designed to help Tahiti double its yearly "nono" juice exports starting in 2005.

    The "nono" juice factory is to be completed in September 2004, creating employment for 30 people in the Atimaono Territorial Domain in Mataiea on Tahiti’s south coast.

    The factory is being built for Morinda, a company that markets Tahiti’s "nono" juice overseas.

    "Nono" is a fruit attributed with having healing properties. The range of by-products coming from this fruit has recently grown bigger to include dietary supplements, cosmetic products and herbal teas, creating a list of original products capable of conquering new export markets.

    French Polynesia Vice President Edouard Fritch, who put the factory’s foundation stone in place, gave a speech during which he assessed the path traveled since the creation of the Morinda in 1996.

    This company mainly exports the nono juice to the U.S.A.

    "Over the years, the noni has become an essential part of French Polynesia’s agricultural landscape," Fritch said. "The activity now concerns several hundred collectors spread throughout our five archipelagoes. It constitutes for them an extraordinary chance in terms of active employment and income." Last year, nearly 4,000 tons of fruit was harvested. That translated into gross agricultural revenues evaluated at 240 million CFP (US$2.4 million), according to Fritch.

    For French Polynesia, that meant 3,600 tons of nono purée was exported to the U.S., representing a value of 960 million CFP (US$9.8 million), Fritch said.

    Morinda hopes to export 8,000 tons of nono during 2005. After the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea, the Chinese and European markets are opening to nono and its by-products.


    WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, May 28) - The Niue Government says its first assessments of the viability of vanilla as a cash crop is promising.

    The island is investigating options for economic development in agriculture, fishing and tourism, areas in which New Zealand has indicated it is prepared to offer assistance.

    Planning and Economic Development Minister Bill Motufoou was recently sent to French Polynesia to research vanilla growing there.

    The Premier, Young Vivian, said at today’s cabinet meeting that Motufoou was instructed to submit concrete proposals for vanilla farming.

    "In other words, how do we get say fifty acres or hundred this year. What do we have to do....How much money....Do we concentrate on a small little gardens at home or do we aim for one acre per family.....Or do we aim for five acres, three acres to five acres,. He'll have to work that out.....But I think I'd like to take all options aboard."

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    Tuesday, May 27, 2003


    Last week was fairly hectic, with back-to-back meetings in Nadi, Fiji, first PAPGREN, then TaroGen, then the Third Taro Symposium. TaroSym brought together about 60 taro researchers and growers from around the world. There were some very interesting presentations and then lively discussion in working groups and plenary on the last day. I'll be putting up the draft recommendations very soon.

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    CABI Compendia

    Keneti Faulalo of NZAID (Keneti.Faulalo@mfat.govt.nz) has the following message for PAPGREN contacts: "NZAID has recently joined CABI. We can give away limited free access to the four Compendia that we are Consortia members of: Crop Protection Compendium, Forestry Compendium, Animal Health and Production Compendium, and Aquaculture Compendium. Would PAPGREN members find CABI access useful?"

    Concidentally, on June 26-27, IPGRI and CAB International will host an Expert Consultation on a proposed PGR Compendium at IPGRI HQ in Rome. Dr Mary Taylor of the SPC Regional Germplasm Centre will attend.

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    Tuesday, May 20, 2003

    On line Courses

    There's the transcript of a short interview on the Prof. Helen Hughes paper mentioned below here.

    Also, I reproduce below a recent email circulated by:

    James R. Hollyer
    Project Manager
    Agricultural Development in the American Pacific (ADAP) Project
    College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
    Gilmore Hall 112
    3050 Maile Way
    University of Hawaii at Manoa
    Honolulu, HI 96822-2231
    ph (808) 956-9539
    fx (808) 956-6961

    I wanted to direct your attention to this great web-based distance education learning opportunity. I have met with Dr Robert Raab and have seen the APRTC courses on the web. Both are very impressive and if you don't have a lot of funds for travel this is a great way of up-skilling yourself, your employees, or your extension clients. The courses load fast on the web and are relatively inexpensive. Plus, as far as we can tell, they are science-based, objective, and fairly rigorous. Students from all over the developing world are taking classes with this group. For educators already teaching these classes in their own institution, there are some pretty neat lessons in the APRTC website that might be usable in your classroom.

    If you have any questions, please direct them to Dr Raab at robert@aprtc.org.

    Dear Friends and Colleagues Interested in ICTs for Sustainable Development:

    I would just like to take this opportunity to let you know that the Asia Pacific Regional Technology Centre (APRTC) is now accepting registrations for online agLe@rn courses that will be offered during the second semester of 2003. We would greatly appreciate your assistance in passing this information on to potentially interested participants and organizations. The courses and the dates they will be offered are:

    1. Digital Literacy for Agricultural Professionals, May 19 - Jun 27, 2003
    2. Introduction to Integrated Pest Management, May 19 - Jun 27, 2003
    3. Promoting Responsible Pesticide Use, Jun 2 - Jul 11, 2003
    4. Basics of Vegetable IPM, Jun 2 - Jul 11, 2003
    5. Integrated Pest Management in Rice, Jun 23 - Aug 1, 2003
    6. Integrated Soil Fertility Management, Jun 23 - Aug 1, 2003
    7. Digital Literacy for Agricultural Professionals, Jul 7 - Aug 15, 2003
    8. Introduction to Integrated Pest Management, Jul 7 - Aug 15, 2003

    Like all agLe@rn courses, these are designed to give widely dispersed developing country change agents the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable natural resource management practices in rural communities. Since beginning operations in early 2001, over 500 individuals have participated in one or more online agLe@rn courses. While most of APRTC’s alumni are from the Asia-Pacific region, increasing numbers of African and Latin American learners are taking advantage of these learning opportunities. All course content is in the public domain and freely accessible to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. Registered participants get the added advantage of interaction with experienced subject matter experts and peers from around the world. More information on APRTC, its partners and all courses can be found here.

    For an interesting article about APRTC’s “Basics of Vegetable IPM” course you might want to read a recent piece published by New Agriculturalist –
    Putting a picture to the puzzle

    I thank you very much for your attention. If you would like additional information or have any questions or comments please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. I look forward to hearing from you.

    NOTE: Some of may be receiving this update for the first time and may wonder why. We have recently done some work on our mailing list and have incorporated the names and addresses of people who have recently signed up on our Website and also people recommended by those already on our list or associated with our program. If you would prefer not to receive email updates on APRTC and agLe@rn please let me know and we will delete your contact information. We generally send an update email about 5 times per year with information on new courses and current APRTC activities. We do not spam and do not share our mailing list information with others.


    Robert T. Raab
    Asia Pacific Regional Technology Centre (APRTC)
    28th Floor, Rasa Tower
    555 Pahonyothin Road
    Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900
    Tel No: (66) 2 937 0487 ext 20; (66) 2 937-1321
    Fax No: (66) 2 937-0491
    Email: robert@aprtc.org
    URL: http://www.aprtc.org

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    Monday, May 12, 2003

    Aid in the Pacific

    The Centre for Independent Studies in Australia has an interesting report by Emeritus Professor Helen Hughes (Australian National University) on what she suggests is the failure of aid in the Pacific.

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    Thursday, May 08, 2003

    Online Maps

    1. The Checklist of Online Vegetation and Plant Distribution Maps is compiled by Claire Englander and Philip Hoehn and maintained by UC Berkeley. A few Pacific references here.

    2. ReliefWeb, which serves "the information needs of the humanitarian relief community" has a Map Centre. Regional and national Pacific maps may be found here.

    Among the more interesting of the maps referred to in these two sites is one by WRI on the forests of Oceania.

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    Global Warming: Early Warning Signs

    The Union of Concerned Scientists have produced a Curriculum Guide and set of teaching materials (geared towards students and teachers in grades 9-12) designed to accompany Global Warming: Early Warning Signs, a science-based world map depicting the local and regional consequences of global climate change. The map was produced as a collaborative project by several environmental organizations, and has been peer-reviewed by scientists.

    The map highlights recent events around the world in two broad categories:

    - direct indicators of the observed long-term global warming trend (“fingerprints”), and
    - events that are consistent with the projections for global climate change and are likely to become more frequent and widespread with continued warming (“harbingers”).

    The map for Oceania is here.

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    Tuesday, May 06, 2003

    Niue language in danger

    Research has found the majority of New Zealand-born Niueans are not proficient at using their own language and few are likely to learn it. Figures released by Statistics New Zealand and reported on the Niue News website show 28 percent of New Zealand's 20,000 Niueans can speak their language proficiently, down from 32 per cent in 1996. English is the most widely spoken language among New Zealand born Niueans. Retaining the Niuean language outside the country is a significant issue, with Niue's population now hovering between 1,700 and 1,900, less than 10 percent of the numbers in New Zealand.

    Radio Australia

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    Agricultural production data

    There is agricultural census data for American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands on the USDA web page. Thanks to USDA's Karen Williams for the tip.

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    Pest management in the Pacific

    ICT Update is a bimonthly web magazine (http://ictupdate.cta.int) with an accompanying printed bulletin and an email newsletter. It is published by CTA. There's an article on PestNet by Dr Grahame Jackson in Issue No. 11:

    "When pests attack, the damage can be devastating. Farmers need advice immediately, but to get the correct information on the best control measures takes time. To make matters worse, many countries do not even have any reference material. PestNet helps to overcome these constraints in the Asia/Pacific region. It is an informal network, using email to link people offering advisory services in developing countries."

    Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)
    Agro Business Park 2
    6708 PW Wageningen
    The Netherlands

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    Monday, May 05, 2003

    Agricultural Research Funding Guide

    This FAO web site facilitates access to funding sources for agricultural research. Included are

    - Sponsors
    - Directories (collections of links to funding sources), and
    - Services (offering guidance to available funding sources, assistance with proposal preparation, etc., sometimes at cost).

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    Something new:

    Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.  

    PestNet: For on-line information, advice and pest identification for the Pacific and beyond. Contact: Grahame Jackson.



    Pacific Mapper: For on-line mapping of point data over satellite images of the Pacific provided by Google Maps.



    DIVA-GIS: For free, easy-to-use software for the spatial analysis of biodiversity data.


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