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).

 

 

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PAPGREN coordination and support

  • IPGRI
  • ACIAR
  • NZAID
  • CTA
  • SPC
  • PAPGREN
  • 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
    Rarotonga
    Cook Islands
    Tel: (682) 28711-29720
    Fax: (682) 21881
    Email: cimoa@oyster.net.ck

    Mr Adelino S. Lorens
    Chief
    Agriculture Pohnpei
    Office of Economic Affairs
    P.O. Box 1028
    Kolonia
    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
    Kolonia
    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
    Nausori
    Fiji Islands
    Tel: (679) 3477044
    Fax: (679) 3477546-400262
    Email: apisainu@yahoo.com

    Dr Maurice Wong
    Service du Developpement Rural
    B.P. 100
    Papeete
    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
    Tarawa
    Kiribati
    Tel: (686) 28096-28108-28080
    Fax: (686) 28121
    Email : agriculture@tskl.net.ki; Beenna_ti@yahoo.com

    Mr Frederick Muller
    Secretary
    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
    Director
    Bureau of Agriculture
    Ministry of Resources & Development
    P.O. Box 460
    Koror 96940
    Palau
    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
    Boroko
    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
    Apia
    Samoa
    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
    Honiara
    Guadalcanal
    Solomon Islands
    Tel: (677) 27987

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

    Mr Finao Pole
    Head of Research
    Ministry of Agriculture & Forests
    P.O. Box 14
    Nuku'alofa
    Tonga
    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
    Vanuatu
    Tel: (678) 22525
    Fax: (678) 25265
    Email: flehi@hotmail.com

    Other links

    Other CROP agencies
    Forum Secretariat
    University of the South Pacific
    SPREP

    Pacific biodiversity
    Biodiversity hotspots
    Breadfruit Institute
    Hawaiian native plants
    Intellectual property rights
    Nature Conservancy
    PBIF
    PestNet
    SIDS
    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?
    DIVA-GIS

     

  •  

    Tuesday, September 30, 2003


    Was Papua New Guinea an Early Agriculture Pioneer?

    By John Roach
    for National Geographic News
    June 23, 2003


    Once considered a "Neolithic backwater" by archaeologists, Papua New Guinea is emerging as one of the handful of places on Earth where agricultural practices developed independently from other cultures.
    The evidence, reported June 19 on the Science Express Web site by Tim Denham, an archaeologist at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and colleagues, may put an end to a long-standing debate on the origin of agriculture in the swampy highlands on the island nation.

    "People were definitely exploiting plants, including taro, at Kuk Swamp approximately 10,000 calendar years before present," said Denham. "There is then-evidence of banana cultivation from 6,950 to 6,440 calendar years before present."

    Taro (Colcasia esculenta) is a tuber with edible leaves and starchy roots. It remains a staple in the Papua New Guinean diet today.

    Prior to this discovery, many scientists regarded Papua New Guineans as passive recipients of domesticated plants and animals from Southeast Asia. But the dates for the rise of agriculture documented by Denham and colleagues predate the earliest known Southeast Asian influence by about 3,000 years.

    Katharina Neumann, an archaeobotanist at Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universit├Ąt in Frankfurt, Germany, writes in a related Science perspective that "only a few regions were geographically suited to become the homelands of full agricultural systems. New Guinea seems to have been one of them."

    Re-examination

    Denham and colleagues base their conclusions about the gradual rise of Agriculture in Papua New Guinea on a re-examination of the Kuk Swamp excavation site in the Wahgi Valley.

    The site was first investigated in 1966 with subsequent excavations in the 1970s, but the details of the finds were never fully published and the evidence for agricultural practices were inconclusive, said Denham.
    "The most serious problem was the absence of any remains of the plants which had been hypothetically exploited," said Neumann. "This is for a large part due to preservation, like in other humid, tropical regions."

    But Denham and colleagues were able to find plant residues in the soils and on stone tools. According to the analysis of these residues, the researchers conclude that the Papua New Guineans were indeed exploiting taro and banana.

    The team also dated features consistent with the planting, digging, and tethering of plants and localized drainage systems to 10,000 years ago. Mounds constructed to plant water-intolerant plants such as bananas, sugarcane, and yams are dated to about 6,500 years ago.

    Neumann said "careful documentation of the archaeological features with a large number of radiocarbon dates and recovery and identification of microscopic plant remains" allowed Denham and colleagues to document the gradual rise of agriculture in Papua New Guinea.

    Denham described the agricultural setting of the Wahgi Valley at approximately 6,500 years ago as a valley floor carpeted in grasslands that were periodically burnt and the Kuk site itself as cleared plots perched on a wetland edge. On mounds constructed in the plots grew bananas, sugar cane, and yams. Taro would have filled the wetter ground between the mounds.

    Societal Impact

    To this day the island country between Australia and Southeast Asia does not fit models that try to link agriculture and the rise of civilization in terms of urban centers and social and political classes, said Denham.

    "New Guinean societies are relatively egalitarian and characterized by the bigman institution whereby a man leads a community, or part of a community, largely through persuasion and prowess in particular activities," he said.

    Leadership traits include the ability to talk, fight, produce, and maintain relationships of exchange. Exchange relationships were traditionally based on the trading of pigs, shells, and women but in modern times are being replaced by money and Western material goods, said Denham.

    Neumann notes that the researchers do not resolve the question of how important agriculture was in relation to hunting and foraging, and thus it is possible that agriculture played only a minor role. For example, most of the plants found at Kuk are distributed in wild vegetation.

    "But this does not diminish the value of the evidence for cultivation at Kuk," she said. "Agriculture and wild plant exploitation do not exclude each other. More and more scientists think that the development from foraging to farming was gradual and not a rapid revolution."

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