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
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Monday, August 04, 2003
Posted 3:14 PM by Luigi
Coconuts in PNG
A piece in The National yesterday discussed the visit to PNG by Dr Ponniah Rethinam, executive director of Asia Pacific Coconut Community (APPC). Dr Rethinan will be coming to Fiji in a couple of week.
PNG LOOKS TO BROADEN COCONUT INDUSTRY By Colin Taimbari
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Aug. 4) - The National Government and the Kokonas Indastri Koporesan (KIK) are looking at using other parts of the coconut to generate cash instead of relying only on copra. Executive officer Ted Sitapai said KIK would encourage producers to diversify after holding discussions with Dr Ponniah Rethinam, executive director of Asia Pacific Coconut Community (APPC). Agriculture Minister Moses Maladina agreed that lots of useful products could be extracted from the coconut and he was hoping that with more discussions, the government could look at promoting these other products.
Dr Rethinam said the palm tree popularly known as "Tree of Life", "Tree of Heaven" or "Nature's Supermarket" had a long history of providing man with useful materials for his daily life like food, drink, medicine, fuel, shelter and wealth. He said more than 100 products can be derived from the roots to the tops of the coconut for commercial purposes in homes, cottage industries as well as big industry.
Food products from the sap (juice) of the coconut include brown sugar, toffee, beverage, toddy, vinegar and confectionary jelly, which have huge markets in the United States and Asia. The young coconut can be canned as syrup, while mature coconut can be turned into desiccated coconut, low fat desiccated coconut, roasted coconut paste, sweetened coconut strips and coconut oil.
Dr Rethinam, on his first visit to PNG, said much more can be produced from a coconut including medicine for the heart and liver.
He said research has also shown and constant intake of the coconut juice can "remove or slow" down HIV/AIDS. "Coconut oil has been a life saver for many people. The health and nutritional benefits derived from coconut oil is unique and compelling. Coconut oil can play a very vital role in the removal of the HIV/AIDS virus," he said. He said the coconut oil was worth about US$439 million, while the desiccated coconut market was worth US$679 million.
Dr Rethinam said PNG was one of the largest producers of copra in the world but was falling behind due to various reasons.
He called on the PNG Government to encourage rural production, which could be done by individuals and families but the processing part should be done as a society or a community. He suggested that 10 to 15 integrated pilot projects in production and processing would create lots of employment and spin-offs and they should be wholly managed and run by those involved in production and processing of the coconut. "I will not accept that coconut is a dying industry, coconut industry can never die," he said. "The problem is we have never tapped the potential properly and fully and if we're not going to be competitive, we're going to die."
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