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?
Monday, August 11, 2003
Posted 5:28 PM by Luigi
A couple of articles reproduced by PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT caught me eye this morning
NEW ZEALAND CLINIC TARGETS PACIFIC ISLANDS DIABETES
SYDNEY, Australia (ABC News Online, Aug. 9) - A health clinic for Tongans in New Zealand that is targeting high diabetes rates and related blindness is hoping its model can be duplicated in other Pacific Island nations where diabetes is rife.
Simple eye check-ups would go a long way to preventing blindness or treating it in its early stages, Eseta Finau said, a nurse at the Tongan Health Society's Langamalie clinic in South Auckland which has 10,000 patients.
She says a pilot program at the clinic to screen for diabetes and blindness would be ideal for other Pacific Island communities in New Zealand and beyond.
The clinic provides the expertise of dietitians, podiatrists, pharmacists and eye specialists and offers advice to patients in their own language on how to prevent diabetes as well as seek treatment if they already suffer from it.
The work of the clinic is being highlighted as part of a month-long campaign to raise awareness throughout New Zealand about diabetes and its link to blindness.
"Sight loss through diabetes has the potential to become an epidemic in some New Zealand communities," Anthony Haas said, president of Retina New Zealand.
His organization is joining with the New Zealand Association of Optometrists and the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind in August's month-long "Save Our Sight" campaign and says diabetes is one of the most common diseases affecting New Zealanders' eyesight.
"Diabetes affects a startling number of people in this country - 150,000 New Zealanders have diabetes, and another 100,000 more remain at risk although they are unaware of it," he said.
"It is important that diabetics realize that there is a strong link between the disease and going blind and be extra vigilant about their eye health."
He says Pacific Island people and Maori are more likely to develop diabetes than Europeans.
Currently diabetic retinopathy causes 80 per cent of blindness among Pacific people in New Zealand and is also responsible for the onset of cataracts.
Dr Sitaleki Finau, who heads the Tongan Health Society, said in a recent Pacific Citizens Decision Maker newsletter that improving the health of Pacific Islanders by addressing lifestyle would only work if the focus was on the community as a whole rather than individual behaviour.
"Lifestyle is not an individual thing for Pacific people," Dr Finau said.
"For them it is a family, community, national way of thinking."
Eseta Finau said changing eating habits that could cause diabetes was difficult because fatty foods such as tinned corn beef, turkey tails and mutton flaps were cheaper than low-fat chicken, pork and fish.
While fish was a traditional staple of the Polynesian diet, there was more status attached to meat these days, she said.
Dr Finau says he does not understand why New Zealand does not have an agricultural policy that would make traditional vegetables eaten by Pacific Islanders such as taro, yam and kumara (sweet potato) more affordable and accessible.
"If people are more knowledgeable about the risk factors associated with eye disease, they are more likely to use existing or their own culturally appropriate health services," he said.
"But everyone needs to remember that managing diabetes includes looking after your diet and making sure you get regular exercise."
PNG PUTS NEW RESTRICTIONS ON VANILLA LICENSES
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Aug. 11) - Agriculture Minister Moses Maladina has announced new measures to control highly irregular trade and export of vanilla in the country.
These measures include the increase in license fees, six months ban on issue of new license, restriction of export to PNG national companies only and imposition of a levy on every kilogram exported.
Maladina said the measures were necessary in light of the irregularities in vanilla trade and export from the country, particularly along the Vanimo border to Jayapura.
He said in a statement the government was concerned that a very high number of vanilla export licenses were granted to exporters who in many cases do not have farmer and crop base and many were foreign.
Maladina said he used his powers under the Spice Industry Act to place a moratorium on issuance of new vanilla export registration and license for a period of six months.
He said there are already far too many export licenses and that the industry needs to reassess its trading needs to conform with existing export requirements imposed by various authorities such as quarantine, customs, immigration, Investment Promotion Authority and the PNG Spice Industry Board.
"This moratorium does not affect current registered/licensed exporters as their operation must be maintained to facilitate trade and allow farmers to continue to sell their crops.
"Furthermore, a review of the current licensing system will be carried out to ensure that there is accountability in the exporters export practice for vanilla and that genuine farmers/vanilla crop based trades operate within the confines of the administrative requirements imposed by various authorities such as Internal Revenue Commission and Customs, Quarantine, IPA, Immigration and the PNG Spice Industry Board."
Maladina said export registrations and licenses will be issued exclusively to PNG national and PNG incorporated companies that are legally registered with Investment Promotion Authority, registered with the Internal Revenue Commission, controlled and operated by PNG Nationals, have substantive permanent establishment such as office and other assets in PNG.
"This is aimed at promoting national and community-based entrepreneurship in the spice industry," he said.
The current registration and license fee of K300 has been increased to K1,000 for vanilla.
He said this would allow genuine traders who deal with vanilla, and would reduce the level of spice export applications to only genuine industry operators.
The vanilla trade has become substantial with a value estimated more than K70 million and that prices have further increased to over K600 per kilogram.
He called for grades and standards to be enforced to ensure that PNG exports are competitive.
Maladina said a spice export levy of K10 per kilogram would be imposed on all vanilla exports to better manage interventions in the industry, and to facilitate the government's role to enforce quality and a certification system for the vanilla trade.
The PNG Spice Industry Board will collect this levy, which is authorized under the Spice Industry Act (1989).
* Comments:Post a Comment
Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.