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
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Thursday, November 20, 2003
Posted 8:36 PM by Luigi
News from Planting Materials Network, Solomon Islands
This just in from Tony Jansen of Kastom Gaden Association (KGA) and Planting Materials Network (PMN), a sustainable agriculture NGO in the Solomon Islands
1. Sam Moroto is almost ready to hold the taro diversity fair is Choiseul. It should be sometime in the next few weeks. Should be very interesting and popular.
2. A banana diversity fair was held last week at Manivovo in Makira where the banana collection is. I will send a report when I have more news about how it went. Nancy went from PMN. Dorothy from PMN may be going to the MGIS training. The bananas from the RGC are all growing well at Burns Creek with the first fruit harvested from one of the varieties last month. We should be ready to start distributing the first few suckers early next year.
3. In North Malaita we have just completed a participatory pest survey as part of the Linking Farmers to Crop Protection networks project involving KGA/PMN/PESTNET and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL). The cooperation with MAL has gone quite well so far with Lilli Wame the coordinator in MAL and she accompanied us on the two weeks of the survey. The farmers identified sweet potato, taro, slippery cabbage and watermelon as the priority crops that they want to look at reducing pest problems on. A series of workshops to share local and outside knowledge on these crops, IPM and plan farmer field trials will be held next year. The first workshop is on taro and will be held in the highland village of Gwaiau in late january.
4. ACIAR is developing a project with James Cook University, Queensland on the domestication and commercialisation of multipurpose indigenous trees and shrubs in PNG. They have been asked to extend the project to Solomons as well. It looks like KGA and Farmer First Network (FFN) partners will have a role in the feasibility study of commercialisation of gnali nuts and participatory domestication work. Talks are ongoing.
5. In Bougainville the PEDC crew have held a number of workshops and started demonstrated gardens at the Nazareth Rehabilitation Centre near Buka which will be a lowland sustainable agriculture site to complement the PEDC mountain work. Bruno and Alphonse from PEDC will come to Solomons to assist with developing a farmer manual on diverse agro forestry using local species. Small scale seed production and the start of a seed network is continuing at Paruparu in central Bougainville. Grahame Jackson has sent on some queries about a devastating disease that is wiping out sago palm trees and spreading rapidly across Bougainville. We are hoping that SPC or NARI will make some kind of assessment very soon.
6. In Tari, Southern Highlands of PNG, Angeline returned home and has started a seed collection and bulking of seeds at the Koli Demonstration Farm. CBHC are interested to further develop a PMN type model for a farmers seed and planting material network. Joseph Warai from CBHC will be in Solomons in December for an FFN meeting.
7. Peter Kaoh from Farm Support Association (FSA) in Vanuatu will also be here in December. We are planning a number of exchanges with Solomons and Bougainville to share FSA experience with spices. In particular, PMN is looking at introducing pepper as an alternative cash crop using FSA experiences.
8. PMN is close to completing field trials of three varieties of sorghum and pigeon pea provided by ICRISAT as part of our animal feed program. The new pigeon peas are being trialed by some PMN members. They have not yet flowered but are growing well. The sorghum varietes are all promising - with open heads, tall plants with a lot of organic matter and all produce multiple harvests. We are also triallying some open pollinated brassicas from AVDRC but that has not been so successful with a number of varieties succumbing to disease before they flowered. A second trial is now starting with Johnson Ladota from the Malaita highlands. Johnson Ladota has actually started the first farmer seed centre, which was one of the recommendations from the conference - to use RTCs and institutions less and concentrate on local networks and farmer run seed centres.
9. One of the issues we will discuss at the December FFN meeting is the formation of an island highlands network, ie places from 300-700 metres altitude on islands. These places have a quite different climate and needs than coastal areas and are often very marginalised, isolated and low income sectors of the community. They have more in common with each other - ie other highland areas, than with nearby coastal communities. So we want to try and build linkages especially looking at crops, varieties and livelihood strategies for these groups of people. Almost all of them are waling access only with very limited services and market opportunities.
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