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?



    Tuesday, August 05, 2003

    Papaya in Guam

    By Katie Worth

    Papaya, anyone?

    A year ago, it looked like Guam residents might not be able to make that offer much longer, as the island's papaya crops were being razed by an imported killer three millimeters long -- the papaya mealybug.

    Fortunately, however, scientists have come to the rescue and Guam's papaya crops are now growing their way back to health.

    In June of 2002, Rangaswamy Muniappan of the University of Guam's Agricultural Experiment Station, with the help of biological control specialists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, began releasing three species of microscopic, stingless wasps imported from Puerto Rico to combat the destructive papaya mealybugs.

    According to Muniappan, the parasitic wasp seeks out a mealybug and deposits an egg inside of it. The egg then grows into a larva, and essentially eats the mealybug from the inside out, thereby killing it, he said.

    "It's been very, very successful," said USDA biological control specialist Dale Meyerdirk, noting that at sites they've been monitoring for the last year, papaya mealybug populations have dropped by more than 95 percent.

    Farmer Bernard Watson, who said his papaya crop was destroyed by the bugs before the parasites were released, corroborated the data.

    "The parasites have done an excellent job at controlling the (mealybug) population," Watson said. "Before they started releasing them, ... it was pretty bad. It almost brought a lot of people's productions to a halt."

    The papaya mealybug originated in Mexico, Meyerdirk explained, and at some point jumped to islands in the Caribbean. When those islands' papaya crops were wiped out, scientists went to Mexico to find the natural enemy of the pests.

    Scientists found the parasites that kill the Papaya mealybugs, and after sending them to a facility in Delaware for extensive research into any possible negative environmental consequences, they introduced them to the Caribbean islands, and later to the U.S. mainland, which the bug later infested. Those programs were successful, Meyerdirk said.


    So when the papaya-killing bug found its way to Guam, probably by hitchhiking on some imported fruits, the obvious solution was to import the parasites as well, Meyerdirk said.

    The papaya mealybug has spread from Guam to Palau, Muniappan said, adding that he, Meyerdirk and USDA entomologist Richard Warkentin flew to Palau last weekend to establish a similar biological control program there. Muniappan said the bug had not yet been reported on Hawaii or other Pacific islands.

    The bug has an impact on many species of plants, Muniappan said, including hibiscus and the ubiquitous plumeria. He said the bugs' saliva is toxic to the plants, so when the bugs pierce the plants to suck out the sap, they poison them.

    The parasites shouldn't present a problem to the island, Meyerdirk said, because their population decreases as the mealybug's population decreases.

    "But the parasite will never totally eliminate its host because if it did that it would die out," he said.

    There are other species of mealybugs, including the pink hibiscus mealybug, that also plague Guam. Similar biological controls exist for those bugs, but so far they haven't been implemented because they affect mostly ornamental plants, therefore, there is less pressure to fund those projects.

    But at least the papaya mealybugs are no longer a scourge to the island, Muniappan said.

    "Right now this problem on Guam is solved, and it didn't cost the farmers anything," Muniappan said. "They are satisfied because last year at this time they couldn't plant papaya."

    The island's farmers are again growing papayas, now that an introduced species of papaya-killing mealybug has been mitigated by another introduced insect.

    Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

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

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