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, February 23, 2004
Posted 1:04 PM by Luigi
Nonu on Niue
The following story appeared on today's Pacific Island Report.
ALOFI, Niue (Niue News, Feb. 19) - A Rarotonga-based nonu operation is keen to develop a commercial relationship with the fledgling industry on Niue, despite the damage caused by Cyclone Heta.
"I don't believe that the nonu industry has been completely destroyed," says Kiki Koteka of the Bio-Medic Cook Islands company which exports noni juice overseas.
According to Koteka, the nonu plantations on Niue are inland and should be relatively unscathed.
The company fostered a relationship with the late Rauru Vakaafi's family in Niue in terms of developing the operation on the island.
Unfortunately, Rauru, a Cook Islander, died last year and Koteka says they have taken on trying to establish the business there until the Vakaafi family can run the operation. Koteka says currently the water processors are already in Niue. The next stage of development will be to construct a building for processing.
"I am hoping to go there in March, when everything will be there...but we will have to see, it depends on how things are going in Niue." Koteka's wife, Ngatia, who helps out with the nonu business, says they found out that the Vakaafi family were vegetable growers like themselves, and the interest in their nonu operation developed from there. "We want to help, give knowledge because with nonu there is money, money for the community and hopefully people will return to Niue," she said.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Posted 5:33 PM by Luigi
Diane Ragone of the National Tropical Botanical Garden's Breadfruit Institute in Hawaii will be sending to the RGC two varieties of breadfruit that were tissue cultured by Cynthia Nazario as part of her MSc work at the University of Hawaii. This will give RGC staff something to start working with, on the road to establishing the NTBG core collection in tissue culture here at SPC so that it can then be distributed to interested countries, as recommended by the PAPGREN meeting on breadfruit last year. We also have a permit from Fiji quarantine to receive roots from the other varieties in the core collection, but will wait a bit to do that, until the funding comes through for a collaborative project.
Thanks Diane for the update.......
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Posted 5:10 PM by Luigi
News from PNG and Micronesia
1. Taro in PNG
News just in from the PNG University of Technology, Lae. Tom Okpul has just been awarded an MPhil for his thesis "Genetic studies on taro: diversity and adaptability of selected genotypes." Our congratulations to Tom. He will graduate in March.
2. Pohnpei Farmers Discuss the Yam Disease and Priority Actions
I've just come back from a trip to Marshall Islands and FSM. Trip reports will be available soon for those who are interested, but I thought I would start with some interesting news on yams in Pohnpei. Yam has great cultural importance in Pohnpei, and there is a great diversity of yam varieties (177 Pohnpei yam variety names have been documented). However, there is now concern about the possible loss of many of these varieties, due to a yam disease which has become very serious during the past 4-5 years. A visit was made on 25 October to 6 November 2003, by SPC staff members Stephen Hazelman and Dr Jacqui Wright to look into the problem, but the resulting report and recommendations had not yet been presented to the farmers as a group.
The Pohnpei Yam Farmers’ Workshop, held February 11, 2004 in the Agriculture Conference room in Kolonia, Pohnpei, was therefore a priority for Pohnpei Agriculture. The workshop was coordinated by Mr Adelino Lorens, Pohnpei Chief of Agriculture and Mr Jackson Phillip, Associate Director, College of Micronesia (FSM) Land Grant Office. Ms Amy Levendusky, Peace Corps Volunteer, and Dr Lois Englberger, Island Food Community of Pohnpei, provided other assistance in the report writing and preparations. Some 12 farmers from throughout the island participated. The workshop was supported by PAPGREN, which is funded by NZAID and ACIAR and coordinated by SPC and IPGRI.
Participants discussed the report recommendations and additional potential causes and solutions for the yam disease. Kehp en Nahmuh Weitahta was added to the list of yam varieties – all introduced – known to be resistant to the disease. The Farmers confirmed that the disease has been on Pohnpei for a long time but has gotten worse over the past 5 years. The issue of preserving certain yam varieties was also addressed. It was agreed that all yam varieties on Pohnpei should be placed in tissue culture at SPC's Regional Germplasm Center for safe-keeping. Participants agreed to donate tubers for this. The first 50 varieties will be collected during the coming yam season. The meeting was closed with a meal of local food featuring yams, and fresh drinking coconuts.
Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.